Heart screening event held in Merritt Island as Hamlin’s collapse resonates with parents

‘Who We Play For’ seeks to prevent cardiac deaths

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – A local organization aimed at raising awareness of sudden cardiac deaths held an already-planned heart screening event Saturday in Merritt Island, stressing the importance of EKG tests.

This comes in light of 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s collapse on Monday. Doctors said it’s too soon to determine whether Hamlin’s collapse was the result of a detectable heart condition.

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Saturday’s EKG screening event was put on by a local organization called “Who We Play For,” which calls the tests crucial.

Stacy Cartechine said her son Alex Dumas died in December 2021 of sudden cardiac arrest.

“He was two months from getting married, he was five days from his 22nd birthday,” she said. “He just came home from a day at work and just dropped.”

She helped organize Saturday’s event that encouraged these screenings for anyone, not just athletes.

“I can think of nothing better to do than to save other parents from having to go through this pain,” Cartechine said.


Kim Boss was also on hand Saturday to share her 21-year-old daughter Lauren’s story, who she said also died from sudden cardiac arrest.

There were no warning signs.

“She passed away 10 weeks and five days ago,” Boss said. “My daughter’s case is crushing, and it won’t bring her back in any way, but I can tell you it feels good if I can help.”

Doug Moore told News 6 it was vital that his son got a heart screening Saturday morning — ahead of him playing lacrosse this year at Merritt Island high school — and also after learning of Hamlin’s collapse.

“Damar is certainly bringing some light to the situation and I’m so glad for these kind of screenings so we can prevent something like that from happening, especially with our kids,” Moore said. “If there’s something you can prevent, you should definitely take advantage of it.”

Who We Play For began in November 2007 when 15-year-old Rafe Maccarone suffered sudden cardiac arrest at soccer practice in Cocoa Beach. He died the next day.

To read more about the organization, visit its website at WhoWePlayFor.org.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.