Holly Morrell will never forget the 1999 phone call that changed her life. Her father, former-NFL-player-turned-actor Chuck Morrell, called to say that a 16-year-old boy had collapsed and died of a heart attack on the field at the local high school. “He said, ; We have to do something.'” shec recalls.
Although neither Holly nor her dad knew the boy, they were all too familiar with what had happened: sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that kills about 325,000 Americans each year–including one teenage athelete every three days. Several members of Holly’s family have died of sudden cardiac arrest, including two cousins, at ages 12 and 14. And Holly herself has been diagnosed with a genetic condition that can cause unexpected changes in the heart’s rythym, often leading to cardiac arrest. “Sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t discriminate,” Holly says. “And screening saves lives.”