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'You can save your own child's life': Free heart screens for young adults

HOUSTON – Teen athletes are powerful, passionate about winning and pushing themselves to the absolute limit in the gym and on the athletic field.

But every year, teen athletes die needlessly due to hidden heart defects no one knew they had.

“My son looked like Superman. That’s a good description. He was so strong and slim and in great shape, always working out and trying to get stronger,” said Amy Travioli, of her 19-year-old son, Mason.

Indeed, Mason Travioli, 6 feet tall and muscular, a high school cross-country star who was just weeks away from joining the Air Force, looked invincible.

But on June 6, 2016, after just finishing a heavy-duty workout at the gym, Mason came home and went to sleep and never woke up again.

He died in his sleep from a hidden heart defect, a defect neither Mason nor his parents nor his doctors even knew he had.

“There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn’t break, that I don’t cry or wish he was still here with us,” Amy Travioli said.

Now, to save all of us the agony of ever losing a child, on April 6, the Traviolis' Mason’s Heart Foundation is offering a completely free, in-depth heart screen for all kids ages 11 to 25, whether they are athletes or not.

This heart screen will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 6, at the Texan Drive Stadium in New Caney and is sponsored by NYC Pizza And Pasta, Sea Tech, PLK Services, Northstar, Texas Metal Equipment, The Cody Stephens Foundation, The Toasted Yolk Café and KPRC-TV.

The screening offers your children a fast, painless electrocardiogram test that can detect hidden heart defects that a normal, school sports exam just can’t find.

It’s a test that Travioli says would have saved her own son’s young life, and she prays all parents will consider taking their children to it.

“This is life and death, and I don’t ever want to see another family have to go through what we have been through,” Travioli said, her voice beginning to break with emotion.

This kind of testing could cost parents hundreds of dollars if they had to go to a hospital or doctor’s office for it, but again, this testing is being offered free.

If you would like to register your child for this screening, click here, where you can sign up online and book your child’s spot.