Michigan Teenager Continues Mission of Pro Football Hall of Famer
A little more than a year ago, on July 2, 2015, Pro Football Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders passed away due to cancer, but before that, the former Detroit Lion’s Charlie Sanders Foundation raised funds for student healthy heart-check programs. It was a cause he took up after hearing the stories of Wes Leonard, a high school basketball player who died on the court in 2011, and Chris Keenist, the son of Detroit Lions senior vice president of communications Bill Keenist, who was forced to give up football because of a heart condition.
One teenager in Michigan knows the importance of these heart-check programs too well. Her name is Katlyn Scott and because of a these heart check programs, the former St. Clair High cheerleader is still alive today.
Katlyn had a heart defect discovered due to one of these healthy heart checks. After her diagnosis more than three years ago, her parents reached out to Sanders and quickly Katlyn and Sanders became friends.
As it turned out, she would need to undergo a heart transplant on July 2, 2014, her 15th birthday. Sadly, Sanders lost his battle with cancer a year later. But Katlyn is helping to promote her “best friend” Sanders’ mission of healthy heart checks as part of physicals for all high school student athletes.
It wasn’t an easy recovery for Katlyn, but now, more than two years after her transplant she is healthy and happy and she feels like a new person. On Monday, June 6, she attended the 5th Annual Charlie Sanders “Have A Heart Save A Life” Celebrity Golf Outing at Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield, Mich. All profits from that event are used to help provide free heart screenings for youth ages 13-19.
Katlyn is living proof that Sanders passionate interest in heart screening high school athletes works. Sanders, who was a father of nine children and played tight end for the Detroit Lions from 1968-77 and also continued to work for the organization long after his playing days ended, could not bear the thought of losing a child to heart disease when through proper screening, most issues can be cured or fixed.