Young Hearts for Life® Cardiac Screenings Save Lives.

Young Hearts for Life® (YH4L) Cardiac Screening Program, nationally known for its unique model, has screened over 150,000 students for conditions that cause sudden cardiac death.  This milestone is a first for any heart screening program of this kind in the United States.

Each week, sudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 60 young adults in the United States.  YH4L has been a leader the medical community to address this problem in the Chicago area.

The YH4L screening program was founded by Dr. Joseph Marek in 2006 and is well known for its unique model that uses trained community volunteers to deliver a low cost, efficient screening program.

Dr. Marek, an internationally recognized cardiologist, has taught physicians across America how to run  heart screenings for students and athletes. Over 14,000 community volunteers have been trained to provide students with FREE ECGs through YH4L.

To date, over 2,100 students screened through YH4L have been identified as “at risk” students.  Of those, hundreds were found to have life threatening conditions, including Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Long QT Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson- White Syndrome (WPW), Brugada Syndrome, and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia.

  YH4L Videos:  More Information About  EKG Screenings


Vital Volunteers

The definition of “vital” is often associated with the necessity for life. YH4L Volunteers are, indeed, vital to the life to our program, as well as to the lives of the young adults we screen. All members of our team participate in the YH4L training program to be ready to help at screening events. Many not only help at local high schools but also travel as needed to neighboring communities.  No previous medical knowledge is required to volunteer with YH4L.  Please consider joining us.

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Essential Sponsorship

Sponsors are essential members supporting YH4L, a not for profit program funded entirely by philanthropy.  Our community thanks the generous donors and supporters who have helped provide the ECG screenings to thousands of students each year free of charge. Gifts made to the program are tax deductible as provided by law and are processed at the Advocate Charitable Foundation.

Be a Sponsor

“We never set out to be the biggest — we just wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. The amazing growth comes because of the energy and commitment of our thousands of volunteers whose only goal is to save lives.”

– Dr. Joseph C. Marek


  Stories You’ll Want To Read

Nick BartoszNick

“Back in February of last year, my son and daughter brought a letter home from their high school (Metea) saying that Young Hearts for Life (YH4L) was offering free ECGs for the students.  Our children have always gone for their yearly physicals, so I did not expect anything to be wrong, but the screening was FREE, so why not?

Nick had been playing baseball and football for years.  Recently, he had complained that he was short of breath.  We took him to the doctor and she thought he might have asthma, so she put him on an inhaler.   Two weeks later, Nick complained of pain in his chest.  Since a doctor had already evaluated him, we assumed it was the aches and pains that go along with being a 2-sport athlete.

Both Nick and his sister went to the screening that Young Hearts for Life offered during the school day.  Since they both had been given a clean bill of health, we were very surprise to find out that Nick’s ECG showed a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW).  This is one of the conditions which can cause Sudden Cardiac Death.

After a number of doctor visits and a surgical procedure (ablation), Nick has been able to return to sports.  We are very grateful to Dr. Marek and the Young Hearts for Life program.  If it wasn’t for YH4L, Nick may have someday become a tragic statistic.  Instead, today he is back on the football field and we are thankful the Young Hearts for life program was at our school.”

                                                         Jill and Chuck Bartosz


How do you thank someone who has given you a second chance at life? Many people have never been in this situation, but I have. Back when I was a freshman at Downers Grove South High School, I was given a letter stating the Midwest Heart Foundation was visiting our school to offer free EKG’s to students through their Young Hearts for Life program. I showed the letter to my mom who immediately said that I should get one. I disputed this because I thought that it was unnecessary to do. My mother reassured me that getting an EKG is really a simple task. The letter also explained just how easy it was to get an EKG and that made me feel better. So I agreed. On the day of the Young Hearts for Life event there were many other kids that were also getting EKG’s. It was so amazing to see just how fast it took and nobody appeared to be uncomfortable afterwards, so I was not nervous at all.

Within a few minutes I was done and on my way back to class…   Continue reading Gianna’s story

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