We play for the thousands of families, teams and communities, every single year, that lose someone they love to a detectable heart condition. Whether you're an athlete, a celebrity, or an everyday hero, we all have someone or something we play for.  Who do you play for?

Dylan Backalar

Student, Michigan

I play for kids like Wes Leonard, who didn't know that they had a heart defect, and their first symptom was Sudden Cardiac Arrest. I was fortunate enough to find out about my heart defect, Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW), even before I had a symptom. When I found out that San Antonio Spur and NBA All Star LaMarcus Aldridge had WPW, I wrote him a letter and was able to meet him. It was a great day! Because I was one of the lucky ones, I feel it is important to give back and volunteer at Heart Screenings, which are so important and helpful in finding other kids' possible heart defects before it's too late.

Laura Friend

Project Adam Coordinator

I do this work in the memory of my daughter Sarah and all the young people who have died too soon from  Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and to add to their loving legacy. I believe that God has placed this mission before me and I hope that I could come close to living the honorable life all these students have. We have a genuine LOVE for people and want to help prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest from taking others. Life is precious, and detectable heart disease should never take a life when a screening could have found it. WWPF, thank you for  carrying the torch and spreading the message from coast to coast.

Jessica Todd Hinke

Special Ed Teacher, Mother of 3
Houston, Texas

My husband, Miguel, and I play for William. William is our 3-year-old-son who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HPLHS). He was diagnosed at 17 weeks into my pregnancy. We have loved William since he was conceived, and are constantly amazed at the amount of love, kindness, and silliness this three year old has! William is a true superhero with some amazing super powers! With light-up rain boots and a handmade a t-shirt cape, William has fought many battles in his short three years: 2 open heart surgeries, being on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) for 12 days, 1 catherization, multiple other hospital stays, and the one he is most proud of: 8 stitches in his forehead (a little boy must learn that only make-believe superheroes can fly!). This year William will undergo another catherization and another open heart surgery. We have no doubt that he will show us how brave and strong he really is. Everyday we are thankful for our little man, and everyday we play for him!

Mary DeBauche

Executive Director, Who We Play For

I play for the ones who are saved by heart screening. When I was first introduced to Who We Play For, everything I read or learned was focused on loss: young people dying from sudden cardiac arrest, parents and families left behind to grieve, schools and communities shocked by the sudden taking of a vibrant child from their midst. It’s heart-wrenching to know that these losses could be prevented, and it can be emotionally overwhelming. I have three children of my own who were all student-athletes, which makes the loss even more personal to think it could happen to anyone – could have happened to me. So, when I hear about a young person whose life is saved by our screening efforts, it raises me up. It makes my efforts meaningful and fills me with energy to fight another day. Knowing that our work makes a difference and saves lives motivates me – it’s who I play for.

Meet the Who We Play For Team

Jane Kitten

Heart Screening Director, Who We Play For
West Texas

I play for the young students who have needlessly lost their lives far too early due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I play for the young students whose undiagnosed, detectable heart conditions can be identified by a simple ECG. I play to raise awareness for these preventable conditions in the hopes that we can keep other families from experiencing the inconceivable and emotionally devastating loss of a child, a brother, a sister, a friend. One more student lost to SCA is one too many! I did not realize how prevalent and devastating SCA is until I was tasked with finding an ECG screening program for the students in the West Texas school where I was employed. I immediately was inspired by this amazing program and what it could offer, particularly to underserved, economically-disadvantaged and rural schools and communities. When the opportunity presented, I jumped at the chance to become a member of the Who We Play For family (make no mistake-we are a family!) and help further its mission…it is really more of a ministry for me!

Meet the Who We Play For Team

Alahna Kessler

Heart Screening Director, Who We Play For Central/South Texas

I play for not only my family and loved ones, but also the lives I have the ability to make an impact on. Leilani, a young girl who was diagnosed with a serious illness at the age of 7, allowed me to find my life calling. I spent many days, weeks, and years with her as she overcame cancer. Although young in age, she had the ability to bring a new perspective on the important things in life. I now know what passion, braveness, and determination look like due to a young girl playing a large role in my heart. I learned that my life calling is to make a difference in this world, specifically in the lives of our youth. Today, I work for Who We Play For and have the ability to play a small role in many hearts of others.

Meet the Who We Play For Team

Evan Ernst

Heart Screening Director, Who We Play For Florida

I play for my brothers and I play for my family. Growing up I was incredibly fortunate to have older brothers, parents and my grandma Mamor who loved and sacrificed for me uncon- ditionally.  Outside of my family, I play for every kid who- for whatever reason- never had the opportunity. I play for Rafe Maccarone and every community who has lost someone they love to a detectable heart condition. I play for Cade and the campers of Camp boggy Creek. I play for Rachel Price. I play for John Curtis. I play for Kate Alukonis.

Meet the Who We Play For Team

Molly Kessler

I play for my family. No people better in the world to make sure I stay healthy for, get screened, and educate on sudden cardiac arrest and many ways to prevent different diseases! PS learn all about SCA and WWPF from the one and only Alahna Kessler, the best human being on the planet!

Anthony Rojas

Combat Veteran

I play for everyone. I am a combat  veteran of Afghanistan and currently employed as a 911 paramedic. I feel that life can be difficult enough as is. My personal philosophy is to promote general care and well being for my fellow man. It is my hope to one day to live in a world where everyone feels a sense of connection and community with one another.

Delannie Sharum

Student, University of Florida

I play for my family. My older sisters taught me almost everything I know, and no matter how far away I am from them, they are with me in everything I do. My amazing dad and mom have never failed to support me and I couldn’t be more grateful.  I play for Rafe Maccarone and Kate Alukonis. I play for every person who was taken from us too soon. I play for those who cannot. I play for these people because they remind me to be humble and grateful, and inspire me to positively impact my world.

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