Lisa Pardington of Canton lost her son Maxwell John Pardington, 20, June 10, 2014, when the strong, muscular young man suddenly collapsed.
They later learned he had “Moderate Left Ventricular Myocardial Hypertrophy and Dilatation” — otherwise known as an enlarged heart.
“Max was training for an Iron Man and he had called me after he was training saying that his heart was racing,” his mother recalled.
She was in shock. “He never had any signs or symptoms,” she said.
To turn tragedy into triumph for others, the Pardingtons — including Lisa’s husband and younger son — started the “Live Like Max” Foundation, in partnership with William Beaumont Hospital, to provide free heart screenings for young people.
“It’s an easy check of your heart, and you can be diagnosed with this condition,” Pardington said.
On Facebook, the family had written: “It pains our family to know that one quick, easy procedure could have spotted this defect in his heart, and he might still be alive today. However, since there were no …outward signs or symptoms to let anyone know that anything was wrong, Max never received an echocardiogram or EKG.
“Since Max’s death, we have come to understand that many of the athletes that you hear have “dropped dead” on courts and fields die from various versions of this defect, yet most physicians and coaches do not push for or discuss getting an echocardiogram or EKG prior to athletic participation.
The foundation’s No. 1 goal is spreading awareness to all student athletes and their families about the importance of getting checked yearly to avoid this “senseless death.”
Their goal is also to remind people to seize the day, and to live bravely — in other words to “live like Max.”