Tag Archives: Yale-New Haven Hospital

Harrison’s Heart

September 14, 2011 could have been the worst day of Harrison Malec’s life.

It turned out to be his luckiest.

After school, the Staples freshman went early to the Saugatuck Rowing Club to run 10 kilometers. He posted an inspirational message on the team whiteboard, then ran over the bridge and on to Baker Avenue for hill sprints.

That’s the last thing he remembers about the day.

Harrison Malec

Running up the hill, his heart stopped. Sudden cardiac arrest is extremely rare in adolescents. Few survive.

When Harrison collapsed, his teammates carried him to his coach. The coach immediately called 911.

A teammate — remembering lifeguard training — started CPR. Westport EMTs arrived less than 5 minutes later, and quickly applied an AED. An electronic shock restarted Harrison’s heart.

He was stabilized at Norwalk Hospital, then airlifted to Yale New Haven‘s pediatric intensive care unit.

A rare congenital defect was diagnosed. Two weeks later, open heart surgery corrected the defect.

Within 4 months, Harrison was back training with his team. Last week he competed at the Northeast Regionals.

Harrison Malec (2nd from right) at William Raveis Real Estate, with employees and training dummies.

On Tuesday, Harrison took time out from training and schoolwork to make a presentation. He joined William Raveis employees — where his mother, Joelle Harris Malec, works — to donate funds to Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Service. The gift — in gratitude for the CPR and AED instruction provided to members of Raveis’ Westport office in June — were used to purchase 8 training dummies.

This was not the 1st “Harrison’s Heart” event. In March, 70 of his junior rowing teammates were trained in CPR. $1,000 in donations were raised.

Harrison described all this on Tuesday, at the Raveis presentation.

And he added a PS: The inspirational message he’d written on the whiteboard the day he collapsed was, “Rowers don’t stop until they end up in the hospital.”

Eerie. But lucky. He noted, “I celebrated my 15th birthday in June. And, hopefully, many more.”

With many more years of paying CPR and AED training forward.

Young Jameson Conte’s Gift Of Life

Tracy Hinson passes along this very sad news:

Mark and Stephanie (Fratino) Conte are longtime, well-known Westporters. Last weekend, they lost their 20-month old son Jameson.

Jameson Conte

Steph — a 1992 Staples grad — was nominated for Homecoming Queen. Mark is a Norwalk fireman. His business is saving lives.

Their young son is following in his daddy’s footsteps. He has already saved other children’s lives, through the donation of his organs.

Four children have received the gift of life, thanks to Jameson — including, yesterday, a 4-year-old who received Jameson’s heart. Even in the midst of Jameson’s tragic and inexplicable death, there is the celebration of life.

The Contes’ house borders Willowbrook Cemetery. Now they will be able to visit Jameson every day. They can look out their windows, and know they still watch over him.

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Here is Jameson’s obituary:

Jameson Daniel Conte, treasured 20-month-old son of Mark and Stephanie Conte, passed away suddenly on Saturday, February 25 at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was surrounded by those who dearly loved him.

Jameson’s life would seem too short to many, but the quality of his existence far exceeds the quantity of the time in which he lived it. Those touched by his sparkle and laughter will remember the joy he found in music, mealtimes, and being adored by his family. In addition to his parents, Jameson was the beloved little brother of Alyssa, the cherished grandson of James and Carol Conte and Daniel and Deborah Fratino, all of Westport. He was the nephew of Anthony, Michael and Matthew Conte, and Danielle Fratino. In addition he was loved by many extended cousins, aunts and uncles.

The last gift Jameson contributed to this world was the donation of his organs. He has provided four children with the gift of life and the opportunity to become extraordinary, as his family knew he would one day become.

Friends may call Thursday (4-8 p.m.) at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday (10 a.m.) at the Church of the Assumption, 98 Riverside Avenue, Westport. Burial will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, Westport.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the following:

Yale Pediatric ICU
Gift Account: Jameson Daniel Conte
7th Floor, West Pavilion
20 York Street
New Haven, CT 06504

Hospital for Special Care
Gift Account: Jameson Conte
HSCH Pediatric Unit
2150 Corbin Ave
New Britain, CT  06053

Tony Giunta Needs A Kidney

For 35 years, Tony Giunta served Westport.  Now it’s time to repay the favor.

The Staples grad spent his entire career working for us, as a police officer and detective.  With his dogged determination, quiet grace and gentle good humor, he epitomized Westport’s finest.

Beyond his shifts, he was active as a Boy Scout leader and Staples Key Club advisor.  In 1996 he carried the Olympic torch down the Post Road, en route to Atlanta.

For more than 2 years, Tony has been on dialysis.  His kidneys are failing, and he needs a transplant.

If you — or someone you know — can donate a life-saving kidney, the time is now.  Contact Joyce Albert, Yale-New Haven Hospital transplant coordinator, at 203-688-8373.

Yale-New Haven Hospital kidney transplant