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Play for Jake, Zac Mago foundations conduct heart screenings for community

Play for Jake, Zac Mago foundations conduct heart screenings for community

Play for Jake and Zac Mago foundations conduct heart screenings for community

The Play for Jake and Zac Mago foundations staged the 1st annual Community Heart Screening & Wellness Event at the LaPorte Civic Auditorium.

The Play for Jake Foundation and Zac Mago Foundation offered heart screenings to the community in honor of two standout high school athletes who died of sudden unexpected heart attacks. 

Team 265, a partnership between the two foundations, gave 118 people heart screenings at the inaugural Community Heart Screening & Wellness Event at the LaPorte Civic Auditorium earlier this month. Blood pressure Health care professionals administered blood pressure screenings, EKGs and limited echocardiograms at the community event, which was free and open to the public.

Go on patrol with Aaron Crawford, a Cpl. with the Lowell Police Department, as he speaks about joining the force, DUI enforcement grants, and police Jiu-jitsu training.

"Team 265 is a collaborative effort between the Play for Jake Foundation and the Zac Mago Foundation with the focus to bring heart screenings to children ages 10-25 and promote sudden cardiac arrest and CPR/AED awareness," said Tonya Aerts with the Play for Jake Foundation. "LaPorte High School student-athlete Jake West, a standout football and lacrosse player, collapsed and succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest during football practice in September 2013. John Glenn High School student-athlete Zac Mago, who excelled on and off the basketball court, succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest in July 2018."

Their families have worked to ensure that the high school athletes did not die in vain.

"Jake's mother Julie and Zac's mother Teresa directed their heartbreak into action, both forming foundations to honor their sons with hopes other families will not have to experience loss like they have," Aerts said. "This past year they have joined forces, launching initiative Team 265, although both individual foundations continue to thrive and are determined to bring awareness to the LaPorte and St. Joseph communities."

Coming Sunday, ride along with Specialist Dyer as he patrols LaPorte.

The Community Heart Screening & Wellness Event in LaPorte was organized with the help of volunteers from Play Heart Smart, the family of Colton Davis, student volunteers from New Prairie HOSA, Brett Binversie, LaPorte County EMS, LaPorte City Police, the LaPorte City Fire Department, Urban Fitness, Aerial Fitness, Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation, Youth Service Bureau, LaPorte County Public Library, and local health care professionals who offered their expertise.

Youth between the ages of 10 years old and 25 years old can get free monthly heart screenings via the Zac Mago Foundation in Walkerton.

For more information, visit or find Team 265, Play for Jake Foundation, Zac Mago Foundation, and New Prairie HOSA on Facebook.


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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