EKGs detect potentially deadly heart condition in children

Family foundation teams up with local hospital to provide free screenings

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – Breanna Vergara was a bright-eyed young girl who excelled in school and loved to dance.

"She was a very fun-loving kid, always joking around, playing around, and she was dedicated to dance," her father, Jesus Vergara, said.

From all appearances, little Bre-Bre, as friends and family called her, was a healthy child.

"There were no signs of her having any problems. She was tired after dance, but that's a normal thing," Vergara said.

In early December 2014, Breanna's bright light went out. She collapsed during dance practice when her heart suddenly stopped.

Months later, her family found out that Breanna had a congenital heart defect called Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome, or WPW.

"Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome? Never heard of it in my life until that moment," Vergara said.

If detected early through an EKG, Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome can be corrected.

"Me and my wife don't want anyone else to go through this," Vergara said through tears.

He has created a foundation in his daughter's name to support free EKG screenings through Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

"It's a free EKG. I would sit in a waiting room the rest of my life to get my daughter tested if I knew it would save her life," Vergara said.

The free EKG screenings sponsored by the Breanna Vergara Foundation have so far detected WPW in 11 children, including a member of the late girl's dance team.

The foundation and Nicklaus Children's Hospital will offer free EKGs Saturday at the Mary Collins Community Center in Miami Lakes.

The community center is located at 15151 NW 82nd Ave. Screenings will be offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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