This July, Jessy Scarpone, a gifted and celebrated runner and artist, passed away upon cardiac arrest. She was 27 and, by most accounts, very healthy. Her death has come as a shock and tragedy, not only to her family and friends, but the running community.
Jessy had a family history of heart arrhythmias. She had noticed abnormally high heart rate during workouts. But overcoming pain was also part of Jessy’s DNA as a competitive runner. “She ran her little heart out,” Carla, Jessy’s mother, recalls. “It never occurred to her to get checked out.” Jessy was also, unfortunately, without health insurance.
We, as Jessy's family and friends, have sought for positivity and looked for ways to best mark Jessy’s legacy.
Please join us in raising awareness for heart health and further research for heart health in athletes. This year’s proceeds will go towards American Heart Association, with directed purpose of furthering research on athletes’ cardiovascular health. In addition, while we cannot change the healthcare system on our own, we plan to look for ways that the uninsured can receive basic check up's.
A recent University of British Columbia research showed that “athletes are not immune to elevated cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular disease.” While over-alarmism is to be avoided, we hope Jessy’s case encourages those who are symptomatic to get checked and consulted.
Nevertheless, exercise is a powerful tool to promote cardiovascular health, as the American College of Cardiology reminds us. And most importantly, happy running! As Jessy shares with us, "As cheesy as it is, running has brought me into, and out of, some tough points in my life. It has taught me what it means to work for something, even if you know you may not get it – something that I’m learning applies to many aspects of adulthood. […] I’ve also met incredible people through a sport that, I once viewed as cruel and unusual punishment.”
- Jessy’s Team, 2019
Columbia University Medical Center’s Sports Cardiology (https://www.columbiadoctors.org/specialties/cardiology-cardiac-surgery/our-services/sports-cardiology)
Mount Sinai Cardiology (https://www.mountsinai.org/care/heart/team