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SADS (Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes) Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Heart & Circulatory System Diseases & Disorders, Specifically Named Diseases Research

Mission: Your child or a young person you know may be at risk for sudden cardiac death due to an inherited condition. He or she will appear healthy, and in most cases, you will have absolutely no idea that something might be wrong. Once diagnosed, these conditions are treatable. Without diagnosis and treatment, they can be fatal. Nearly 4,000 children die each year due to undetected cardiac arrhythmias. One in 2,500 of them are at risk of a sudden cardiac arrest. These deaths can be prevented if more people are aware of the SADS warning signs. The Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation is dedicated to saving the lives and supporting the families of young people genetically predisposed to sudden death due to cardiac arrhythmias.

Results: We are making great strides raising awareness of SADS. More people are learning the warning signs, and contacting the SADS Foundation if they think their child may possibly be affected. We applaud this effort, and hope that soon - every person will know what SADS stands for, what the warning signs are, and what to do.

Target demographics: Children, young people, and families

Geographic areas served: World-wide

Programs: The sads foundation is dedicated to providing information, assistance and hope related to this disease. In fulfilling this mission, the organization has the following goals: education: to educate health care providers and the lay public to promote early diagnosis and treatment. Patient services: to serve as a physician referral resource and to provide information to physicians who care for patients with cardiac arrhythmias. Support services: to assist all those affected by the sudden death of a young loved one, or who have been diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia by providing informational materials, facilitating support groups, and maintaining an active networking program. Public awareness: to inform families, physicians, and communities about the genetic cardiac arrhythmias in the young, and thereby prevent sudden cardiac death in young people. Research: to encourage research on genetic cardiovascular diseases predisposing the young to sudden death.

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just lost my nephew at the age of 18 due to arrhythmia that was diagnosed recently, and was searching to see how we can contribute in bringing awareness to youth who otherwise may look perfectly healthy. I'm glad to find an organization with this mission, and would like to help them expand on their mission.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The SADS Foundation has been an integral part of my healing from the unexpected loss of my husband and the care of my daughter. They are extremely dedicated to the individuals and families they support, and their passion for their cause, saving lives and supporting survivors is boundless. We appreciate everything they have done for our family, and they have inspired us to work hard for the cause & community as well.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On September 29, 2009 I unexpectedly lost my husband and my daughter lost her father exactly 1 month after her 3rd birthday. We soon learned that Wayne had an undiagnosed genetic heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. Since losing him, our family has learned that other family members have Long QT as well, including our daughter, Lily. And, sadly, we learned that Wayne's death was preventable.

We are so fortunate to be connected with the SADS Foundation, as they have been a compassionate source of support and expertise in the field of genetic heart arrhythmia syndromes. Not only do I feel comfortable with the information they give us, but I feel like I have understanding friends to whom I can simply talk to when in sorrow or fear. As a way to give back and further advance their efforts, I've chosen to volunteer on behalf of the Foundation. Each year we host a celebration of life in Wayne's memory in an effort to raise critical funding and awareness for Long QT Syndrome and other SADS conditions. These events have been a tremendous source of personal healing, as well as raising significant funding & awareness. My life & the way I've dealt with the loss of my husband is dramatically different in a positive way as a result of the SADS Foundation and their incredible staff.

Mike F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about the dedicated people and the hard work that the SADS organization provides to the general public. They are dedicated to educating people about the dangers of SADS related conditions. More importantly, they provide encouragement and comfort to parents that have had to endure the loss of a child due to a SADS related syndrome. My father passed away at age 33 from a SADS related problem and I lost a sister in 1897 to the same malady. Nothing is worse than a premature death and a life cut short, especially when it may have been detected and potentially prevented.

1 Mary Ann C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am writing to you as an advocate for – and perhaps the #1 greatest fan of – the SADS Foundation. This organization has truly impacted my life, and I cannot imagine how I would have coped with the trauma that I have over the last six months without them.
In June 2011, my then 13-month old son, Lee, was diagnosed with Long QT 8 / Timothy Syndrome. This diagnosis is one of the more rare conditions that the SADS Foundation provides support and education for – and was obviously extraordinarily devastating news for us to receive. The prognosis for Lee’s condition is not good, but already with the constant love and support from the SADS Foundation, we are doing everything possible to ensure a happy and healthy life for this amazing little boy.
The day I found out about my son’s diagnosis was a day I will never forget. Feeling as if I just had the air knocked out of me, I knew our lives had just changed in more ways than I could comprehend. I felt incredibly alone, and had no earthly idea how my husband or I would be able to handle this news. It was only after talking to the SADS Foundation that I finally felt like we weren’t alone, and that there really are people out there who understand what we were going through. Alice Lara and Laura Wall were like guiding angels – calming my fears and walking me through what Lee’s diagnosis may likely mean for our family. I could not have imagined going through those first days – and the last many months – without them. They have gone above and beyond to provide me – and Lee – with resources, contacts for some of the world’s most well respected professionals in the field, and networks of other families and parents.
I have volunteered with, and donated to countless non-profit organizations and foundations in my life, and I truly must to say the SADS Foundation is one of the most professional groups I’ve ever come across. Not only are they professional, but they also take the time to get to know each and every family and do their very best to get them the support and attention they need.
In the short time that we’ve been dealing with our son’s diagnosis, my family (including extended family and friends) has helped raise over $5,000 for the SADS Foundation. I feel 100% confident that this money will continue to help the SADS Foundation support other families like mine and also help bring awareness to the frightening Sudden Arrthymia Death Syndrome. I know for certain that I am one of thousands of people who will make the same statements of appreciation for this incredible organization. All the families I know who have been affected by a SADS condition have made a commitment to support the SADS Foundation in any way possible, and I can confidently say that I will be a supporter – and a fan – for life.

Barbara64

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we lost our daughter suddenly to a previously undetected heart arrhythymia on June 20,2005, we had no where to turn. Because long qt is such a rare disorder there was little support for those afflicted. While searching the internet we came across the SADS website. We have found that SADS has a wealth of information and reaches out to those who suffer a loss such as ours. We have also attended some of their conferences and have learned so much from their knowledgeable experts. We feel SADS is such a valuable organization and have held an annual fundraiser with proceeds going to them since 2006 to help raise awareness. Our fundraiser is called Christie's Heartoberfest. We have rasied over $100,000 for SADS and will continue to do so in the future.

1 Melissa T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved, as a volunteer, with the SADS Foundation in 2005, following my sister's death. I know first-hand how devastating sudden cardiac death is for a family, and the frustrations of being unaware of warning signs. SADS goal to spread awareness for diseases like Long QT, that killed my sister and with which several members of my family and myself are affected, is also a lifelong mission of mine. Alice, Laura, and the whole team at SADS have made volunteers feel like part of the family, and given us a chance to help make a difference in a fight that is so close to our hearts.

jettplane

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my son was diagnosed with a genetic heart problem that we now know affects both my daughter and I, SADS was there. They had been there before we knew it by supporting research into our condition. They had educational resources that let us understand our condition better. They had forms to use for school and other care givers. They helped us work through the insurance issues of genetic testing that our insurer would not agree to fund at first. Later, when my daughter had to have an ICD implanted for this condition, the contacts helped us develop kept us calm and supported us through the surgery. I am very grateful for SADS.

Renae C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For years my husband had no idea what was wrong with him. It wasn't until he was about 24 he was finally diagnosed. Then we found out about the SADS foundation and was overwhelmed with a wealth of information. Since that time, I have done all I can as a volunteer to help and get information out to as many people as I can.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my son passed away from fainting spells that went undiagnosed by specialist after specialist, it was only after his death that we learned of www.SADS.org. They were kind enough to respond to our need for answers as to WHY he passed away. They referred us to doctors who reviewed my sons medical records gratis and confirmed that he was afflicted with SADS, and that if he had been diagnosed correctly he would still be alive today. Because their wonderful responsive team was able to help us so much to find closure, our family has joined the cause as volunteers to help spread the word throughout the medical and acedemic community, to educate, inform, and help to save others lives. We take great joy in knowing that we are helping to support them in saving others from this horrible life taking affliction.

1 Tracy22

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first became aware of the SADS organization almost 3 years ago now. My daughter, Morgan, then 12 years old, had a syncope episode that landed her a trip to the emergency room where it was discovered she may have Long QT. Thankfully, there was someone that quickly referred me to the SADS organization. To say they changed my life, and that of my daughter, would be an understatement. At a time in my life when I felt so incredibly lost and scared, SADS was right there with me to offer support, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, resources, referrals and so much more. SADS has connected us with other families, living with SADS conditions that I've gleaned support and encouragement from. Day or night, the middle of the night, the early morning, it didn't matter. The SADS organization was there for me. They always answered their phones, promptly returned phone calls, answered e-mails and even gave me their own personal cell phone numbers in case I needed anything. I never once felt like I was an inconvenience or wasn't cared for. SADS has stuck by me, daily sometimes, for the last 3 years. As we are still seeking help for Morgan, SADS continues to stand by me. They have been there through my tears, trips to the hospital, and the happy times as well. I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the SADS staff when they took time out to meet with Morgan and I while visiting our area. Just recently, the SADS organization put me in contact with an AED machine company. The church my daughter and I attend wanted to purchase an AED but didn't have the funds to do so. Ms. Laura Wall from SADS connected me with a wonderful company that donated an AED machine to our church. It's comforting to know that we have that resource not only just for Morgan, but others. As we still seek answers to Morgan's condition, I know without a doubt that SADS will be right there with us. My children and I are so passionate about this organization that we spread the word every where we go. We've both done school projects on SADS, made speeches, passed out material and raised awareness to the best of our ability. We are currently working on a fundraising project in our town, with all the donations going to SADS. There are so many wonderful things that I could say about the SADS organization and use every opportunity possible to do so. I will always, with passion, work to spread their cause, raise awareness and do all I can to help them in their endeavor to save lives. I have already had the opportunity to refer others, going through scary situations with themselves for their children, to SADS. This organization, will without a doubt, always have my heart. As they have stood by me, so I too will always stand by them as well as the lives they touch.

Kelly39

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been diagnosed with a Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome called LQTS. I had to have a defibrillator implanted in January 2010 when I fainted for the third time in 10 years. Twenty-three months later, the defibrillator saved my life when my heart would not beat correctly. I was actually shocked 40 times that night until medicines kicked in and the defibrillator was able to pace my heart. I also had a younger sister who died in her sleep at the age of 18 in January 1990. She apparently had a SADS condition that was undiagnosed since she didn't have any symptoms, such as the fainting I had. The SADS Foundation has been a wonderful source of information. If I have any questions, someone always e-mails me back right away. I know they can put me in contact with people who have stories such as mine. They are trying to get word out about SADS conditions, signs and symptoms of SADS, ways to save children's lives, having AEDs in public places, learning CPR, and finding the causes for SADS conditions and genetic testing. They keep up with the latest news on all of these subjects and keep in touch with the national and international experts in this field. They have also set up an emergency system to use when they are told about a child or young adult who may have died due to a SADS. They try reach the medical examiner involved, offer support and advice to the family, they help the family get genetic testing, get information and support out to the friends and community, also. I keep thinking it may have helped my family back when my sister died if we had those services available to us. This is a absolutely wonderful Child and Family Non-profit that I support 110%.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I run a website with over 550 members; most of them are parents whose children have a rare and potentially fatal heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. The people at SADS have been a key element in helping parents find resources, given guidence, assisted in working with insurance companies, helped people find doctors - the list goes on an on. They have even helped our members get questions answered by some of the top doctors in the field, on video, which we can play on the site. They have gone above and beyond my wildest expectations. I can truly say without reservation many, many families have greatly benefitted from their help.

KRISTEN P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Kristen Prosser and Im aware of SADS due to a loss of one of my husbands friends Wayne Sawyer a few years ago. Since then I have become aware of this silent killer that no one knows about. LAURA M WALL has been an amazing contact with helping me figure out how my husband and I can raise awareness. Mark Prosser is now CLIMBING TO CONQUER and just doing anything we can to spread the word. I love this foundation so much and a big Thank you To Shannon Kiss who Lost Wayne and has volunteered and made us all want to care a little more about things we don't know about.

Mark C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 1975 my ten year old brother began to faint at odd times. He would faint while we were all playing monopoly, he would faint when playing with the dog, he would faint when he got excited. In short, he fainted and we knew nothing about why he was doing it. He always woke up.

Then, he started fainting and not waking up. Aid cars were called. We discovered that his heart was going into something valled ventricular fibrillation. He was defibrillated on a trip to Children's Hospital in Seattle.

At the hospital he was fainting when he was in the hospital bed. Wires were hooked up to him and they were checking his hear. They could see that his heart was doing weird stuff -- ventricular fibrillation -- but they could not tell us why.

The cardiologist hooked up an external pacemaker and my brother stabilized. But, the doctors did not know why he was having these problems. Finally, a resident came in with an article describing a newly discovered genetic problem called Romano-Ward syndrome that was associated with Long QT.

The cardiologist measured my brother's QT interval -- he actually used calipers -- and found a long QT.

The doctor inserted a pacemaker -- it went into my brother's abdomen because it was quite large -- and sent us all home.

But, our journey with Long QT was just starting. We were asked to all have ECGs and it was discovered that My dad, my sister and my new little brother -- less than a year old-- and myself all had Long QT.

Not much was know about the disease -- it was 1975 -- and we were told to watch for fainting. None of us had fainted except my brother and my dad had spent 21 years in the navy and served in Vietnam for a few years and even had a Purple Heart!

The doctors and our family reasoned that the rest of us would be OK. We were the first Long QT family the hospital had ever seen.

They were wrong but we would not know this for another 18 years.

In that time frame I climbed Mt Rainier, became a volunteer fire fighter- even taught advanced first aid and CPR -- and even responded to a call for help at Husky Stadium where I did CPR on an elderly man and rode in the aid car doing CPR because the crew was short handed. What an adrenaline rush!

I had lots more adrenaline rushes as I went into burning buildings, responded to aid calls, learned how to autocross -- a form of sanctioned car racing where you go through cones -- and did a lot of great things as a young adult.

In 1979 I went to college. My sister followed about a year later (I had graduated from High School in 1975 and went to college in 1979) and my sister had a great start to her college career until she started fainting.

She ended up getting a defibrillator inserted in 1981 or 1982 and the doctors started to think there was more to this Long QT thing.

We were asked to be part of a genetic study so that researchers could try and locate the gene causing our problem. Other people were being identified at Children's and Long QT was getting some attention. Teenagers had been dying unexpectedly and autopsies were not showing doctors why these otherwise normal children were dying. The common thread was unexpected fainting.

I was married in 1982 and we had a daughter in 1984. Genetic studies were ongoing and researchers had learned about a mutation that resulted in a "potassium ion channel polarization" problem and they labeled us Long QT2. Tests showed my first daughter did not have the defective gene.

We had a second daughter in 1989 and tests showed she had the gene. Research was progressing and more info was being learned about this disease. Let's go back to my brother who started all of this -- he was doing great..... and living life even though he had also developed diabetes. My younger brother, also diabetic was also doing great and was being seen regularly at Children's. Both brothers had been put on a drug for Long QT -- a form of beta blocker.

So, we fast forward to 1993, my brothers, sister, dad, and youngest daughter are doing great. My daughter is five years old and taking nadolol -- a beta blocker -- and she is doing fine. Research showed that Long QT affects young people between the ages of 13 and 20 the most and sudden death occurs unexpectedly.

My youngest brother was 18, getting ready to graduste from High school, driving into a park with his girl friend when he saw a car/motorcycle accident. He started to get out of the car to go help out at the scene and collapsed. He had fainted.

Nobody did CPR, Aid car came and took him to Children's, the aid crew defibrillated him and got him back on the way to the hospital. At the hospital my brother's heart remained stable but he had gone into a coma.

We learned that the lack of CPR and the ventricular fibrillation had caused his brain to go without oxygen for a period of time. He was placed on a ventilator and tests were done. We learned that his brain had died. My little brother was declared dead.

We were all devastated. How could this have happened? Was this Long QT thing this real and this dangerous? The only good thing to happen was that my brother was able to be an organ donor and I believe he helped about a dozen people.

Eighteen months later the Washington State Patrol found my next youngest brother dead in his truck on the side of the road. We believe he felt something starting and was able to pull over. Our family had lost two young people to Long QT. Sudden death by Long QT was real!

My sister -- the only one of us to have a defibrillator -- had several attacks and been automatically defibrillated and continued living.

I did not have a defibrillator, my dad and daughter also were unprotected. My daughter continued to take beta blockers and be checked every six months on a treadmill to see if the beta blocker was working.

in 2001 my dad got a defibrillator. In 2002 my daughter got a defibrillator and I got mine a year later. We have all had them replaced but my daughter has had four surgeries to replace defective leads, a recalled defibrillator and survived long QT with no problems until December of 2010 when she woke from a bad dream and had a cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation.

Her defibrillator saved her life. At the ER, she had texted me and said she was Ok but in the hospital, my electro physiologist checked her out, got her permission to call me and flatly said "this would be a different story if she did not have a defibrillator."

My daughter came to brunch at my place and has almost recovered from the trauma of her cardiac arrest. She has had some anxiety attacks -- who wouldn't? -- and is doing great.

This is a long story but has a summary. Research into Long QT has saved lives. The SADS organization has learned that proper care with beta blockers, defibrillators and education saves lives. While our family has lost two young people to this disease we were also a family that started a long history of research.

The SADS organization does great work and should be supported.

Bill L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Why we do it?
In 1994, while visiting Disneyland, my wife Sally collapsed and for the next 28 minutes she was without her own working heart and lungs. I called 9-11 and managed to give her CPR for the next 17 minutes until the paramedics arrived and transported her to the ER. All the while, our two young daughters had to watch the whole event unfold in front of them. At the ER, the doctors were able to get her heart restarted in the 28th minute. Sally remained in a coma for the next 3 days. They said she wouldn't make it through the night and gave her a 10% chance of surviving. We almost lost her 3 more times that first night, but she kept hanging on. She was transferred to UC Irvine and had a cardiac defibrillator implanted. Five weeks later she finally went home. Sally has spent years undergoing therapy for her brain injury (due to lack of oxygen during her collapse).Sally has "Long QT Syndrome". Ever since this tragic event unfolded, we have become involved with the SADS Foundation: doing any and everything we can to help.
Thank You, Bill Layton

Melissa M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my middle son, Cache, was born almost 6 years ago, we found out he had a rare genetic heart condition called Long QT syndrome. Of course the first thing we wanted was answers. That is when I stubble across the SADS Foundation’s web site. They had so much information and also mailed me information as well. They have been great supporters over the years; as we have found out my brother, his children, myself, and my children also have this scary syndrome. We are lucky to have found out, as many are not as blessed as us. SADS Foundation provides great support for all families affect by SADS conditions. As of last year, we celebrate Cache’s birthday by helping raise awareness and fundraising so they may help save others from tragedies and support others.

Advisor

Rating: 5

My 15 year old daughter died suddenly while playing softball. Loma Linda Dr. Marc Platt Chief of cardology at the time studied 3 families who's children had also died suddenly during that time. Pesticides being used in the community were suspected in my daughters case. I am very sad that SADD does not address this FACT even though it is very well documented. Do any of their donations come from CHEMICAL companies. How many ATHELETS die each year on contaminated Fields. My daughters case has been documented since 1998. Look up ORGANOPHOSPATES and make your own conclusion. As for the cause of death of the other children, out of respect for the families I will only comment about my daughters, However I do know my facts are correct.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the early '90s, Long QT Syndrome took the lives of two of my uncles. Today my grandpa, aunt, dad and myself live full and normal lives. Though hardly anyone has heard the name, let alone fully understands the potential severity of the condition, Long QT and other SADS conditions are responsible for far too many deaths. On October 10, 2010, I went into cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation. Within 15 seconds, my implanted defibrillator detected the rhythm and sent a corrective shock to my heart. It is safe to say that without an ICD and how far research has come, I probably wouldn't be here today. Although I have always understood the condition, it has never been so real to me, nor have I ever been quite as thankful for organizations such as the SADS Foundation, as I am now. The SADS Foundation is full of wonderful people who are striving to continue to spread awareness of SADS conditions. It reminds me that, even through hard times, we need to reach out to others and think outside ourselves.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SADS- terrible name, great cause, wonderful people-- provides information that is life-saving (literally). Hardly anyone knows about arrhythmia conditions, even doctors are astoundingly ignorant. And people with the condition have only piecemeal information. so when someone is struck down, everyone says, oh, if I had only known, why didn't anyone tell us about this? This small grass-roots organization is the only one I know of that is trying to get the word out, to save lives. I attended a workshop after I survived a mild attack of arrhthmia and was diagnosed with one of the rarer forms--most people don't live thru it. I feel like I was spared so I could help my extended family who are now able to take steps to prevent dying from this--but I did not know what to do until SADS laid it all out, how to approach them and what needed to be done. This is such a hidden danger, and SADS is about the only thing exposing it so we can deal with it.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On April 7, 2009 my life was changed forever. That is the day my 3 yr. old daughter, "George" (Cecilia Kay Balma), just stopped. It was the middle of the afternoon, on a regular day, my 5 yr. old son said George was pretending to be asleep on the kitchen floor. My two other daughters and I went to 'wake George up'. We use to be a very playful family. It only took a second for my oldest daughter and I to realize something was wrong. My 10 yr. old called 911. I held my child and talked to the emergency operator. When we reached the hospital, there was already a priest in her room waiting for us. I didn't look at him. Within seconds my husband was in the room. We watched, helplessly, while the doctors tried to save her life. They were unsuccessful. No one could tell me what happened to my baby. Not 911, not the paramedics, not the doctor or hospital. It took the coroner to diagnose my daughter. Death by Sudden Cardiac Arrest due to an undiagnosed heart condition. I couldn't understand how something like this could happen to my family, to my child. I wanted to know something, anything. The coroner diagnosed my daughter. She had right ventricular displasia, a form of SADS. I couldn't understand why I didn't know and began a downward spiral into a horrible depression. During the days I spent locked in my house I began to research this condition. The more I learned the angrier I became. I started very slow, asking for a small amount of literature at first. The reaction I got from the community has lit a spark. No one knows. I went to the Health Dept., W.I.C, and Medicaid Office. I hung posters in the library, courthouse, and grocery stores. I just kept telling anyone who would listen. I am proud to say that I have a date with the School Board on 6/21 to ask that they change the county wide physical forms. I will never stop telling. My family will never stop telling. SADS helped me find a way to be a mother to my child in Heaven. While I could not save George, together we can save someone else's Angel.