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LECOM Students Raise Money to Help Young Girl With Rare Heart Condition

(Back Row): Angelika Frank, Rachel Lipner, Jackie Olsen, Jacqueline Dufon, Katelin Haley, Dr. Theodore Makoske (LECOM Assistant Professor), Kenneth Heidle, Paul Renz (Front Row): Krista Kerch, Lindsay Henderson, Leah Campbell, Jantira Thomas, KayLeigh Faulkner, Erin Brennan, Lydia Travnik, Alisia Johnson (KayLeigh’s mother), Andrew Rettew
(Back Row): Angelika Frank, Rachel Lipner, Jackie Olsen, Jacqueline Dufon, Katelin Haley, Dr. Theodore Makoske (LECOM Assistant Professor), Kenneth Heidle, Paul Renz (Front Row): Krista Kerch, Lindsay Henderson, Leah Campbell, Jantira Thomas, KayLeigh Faulkner, Erin Brennan, Lydia Travnik, Alisia Johnson (KayLeigh’s mother), Andrew Rettew

Erie, PA – Students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) recently presented a check for $1,020 to the family of an 11-year-old Erie girl who suffers from a rare heart disease.  KayLeigh Faulkner has Long QT Sydrome, an inherited cardiac condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms which can lead to sudden death.  Faulkner’s family will use LECOM’s donation to purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED) that KayLeigh can use at home and while traveling.

KayLeigh Faulkner is the granddaughter of Lee Faulkner, a local contractor who provided oversight during the construction of the LECOM John M. & Silvia Ferretti Medical Fitness and Wellness Center.  During one of Lee’s weekly meetings with the Provost, Silvia M. Ferretti, DO, he shared the story of his granddaughter, recently diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome and her need for an automated external defibrillator (AED).

In response to the identified need, students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine made it their mission to help KayLeigh and her family.  More than 40 medical students from three clubs, including LECOM’s Undergraduate American Academy of Osteopathy (UAAO), the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) and Pediatric Club joined forces to raise the money by selling osteopathic manipulation tables to fellow students.

Jantira Thomas, a second-year medical student and president of the Undergraduate American Academy of Osteopathy chapter, presented the check to KayLeigh and her family.  Thomas said doing the fundraiser was a “heartwarming” experience and encouraged the students to learn about Long QT Syndrome and helped in their understanding of the cardiovascular system.

Alisia Johnson said her daughter KayLeigh is a competitive cheerleader.  Having the AED with her at all times will allow her to continue doing the activity she loves.  The defibrillator is portable, so KayLeigh can take it with her while traveling to cheerleading competitions and sporting events.

“It’s such a relief to my family to know that we have this safeguard for KayLeigh,” said Alisia Johnson.  “It’s there and hopefully we’ll never use it, but if we need it – time is life when it comes to the heart – so this gives us real peace of mind.”

One comment

  1. I think is great what they did for that little girl I to have long qt syndrome and have an implanted defibulator and love the fact that more and more people want to learn about this disease

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