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Heart screening event Saturday at Pinecrest Academy

SOUTH FORSYTH — Athletes in middle and high school are expected to put their hearts into sports, but one local school wants to make sure their hearts can take it.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Pinecrest Academy will be holding “Heartscreens for Teens.” The program will offer heart screens for students for much lower than a traditional screen, which can cost more than $1,200.

“’Heartscreens for Teens’” is a program that offers screenings for children ages 11 to seniors in high school,” said volunteer Cheryl Farkas. “The cost is $95 and that is for an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram. There will be a cardiologist at the event, his name is Dr. David Jones, and two technicians.”

Farkas said that she recommended the screens for students because heart conditions can go unnoticed until the unfortunate happens.

“The heart screen saves lives and any athlete or non-athlete that has not had their heart checked should try and make it to the screening,” she said. “There are heart conditions that do not have any symptoms and unfortunately they will go out and do sports and not know they have a heart problem and that’s what leads to sudden death on the field.”

The screenings are a personal matter for Farkas, as her son was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2009 while playing football for Pinecrest, a private Catholic school in south Forsyth.

“Our son was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” Farkas said. “It was found in a routine yearly physical where she heard something. And then he went to a pediatric cardiologist, where he had an echocardiogram, and they at that very moment said … ‘He has to quit all sports.’”

Though students may have to give up sports, Farkas said that it was a blessing her son’s condition was detected.

“It was devastating to him and all of us in his family at the time,” she said. “There is a silver lining in everything, and you just have to be thankful that it was caught and he is alive. He went ahead and focused on other things like music and got very involved in school.”

The screenings will take place in the main lobby of Pinecrest, 955 Peachtree Pkwy., and teens must have an appointment.

Those interested can contact Farkas at (770) 826-9478 or