Living for Zachary
Loss is part of life. But there’s also an order in which we expect to experience it. As children, we anticipate having to one day bury our parents but not the other way around. No parent can fathom having to bury a child — and certainly not one who is seemingly healthy. But for Karen Schrah, the unimaginable became a heartbreaking reality when, on April 2, 2009, her 16-year-old son, Zac, died unexpectedly during a routine football practice.
There were no signs. It all happened without warning. On what was an otherwise typical day, Karen's son Zac collapsed from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) on his high school football field. The Schrah family later learned Zac died from a congenital heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common cause of SCA in young people, including young athletes.
But Karen funneled that grief into advocacy. As one friend noted, “Zac's dream was to save lives. [He] was inspired to be a doctor, and Karen wanted to see that dream through for him, just saving lives in a different way.”
After researching the number of lives lost to SCA, Karen founded Living for Zachary, a
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in June 2009 with a simple but important mission: raise awareness and prevent SCA in youth.
As a result of Karen’s unyielding efforts, Living for Zachary has impacted thousands of families and children across Texas by providing youth heart screenings, Automated External Defibrillators (AED) donations, CPR/AED certification classes, scholarships, and awareness events.
“I started the nonprofit from one of life's most devastating moments and found a passion in educating others. I quickly learned how to operate a well-functioning organization and found people who shared my passions to help me get it off the ground.”
- Karen Schrah
Learn more about Karen, and the impact Living For Zachary has on the local community.