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Greenbrier Companies, Inc. has teamed up with Providence Heart Institute to screen for undetected heart conditions in youth.

The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. are teaming up with the Providence Heart Institute to screen for undetected heart conditions in young people, a leading cause of sports-related deaths. The global railcar manufacturer based in Lake Oswego has pledged $400,000 to the Providence Heart Institute, representing the largest charitable gift in Greenbrier's history.

Greenbrier Executive Vice President and CFO Lorie Tekorius, who is also a member of the Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation Council of Trustees, initiated the conversations that led to the donation. Tekorius said she has heard too many stories of young people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest, often fatal, as the result of an underlying heart condition.

"Few things are as tragic as when a young, seemingly-healthy person's heart suddenly stops while at play," Tekorius said. "The Providence Heart Institute makes it a priority to screen as many children as possible to prevent these kinds of tragedies."

Tekorius suggested to Greenbrier the idea of making a major gift to Providence's Play Smart program, which screens youth free of charge for issues that can cause sudden cardiac arrest or lead to heart disease. The company's generous gift will also support Providence Heart Institute's new Center for Cardiovascular Analytics, Research and Data Science, or CARDS.

"Greenbrier has made a tremendous gift," says Dan Oseran, M.D., executive medical director, Providence Heart Institute. "Their support will accelerate our work to prevent tragic deaths among youth and continue to bring our patients the world's best heart care."

According to James Beckerman, M.D., medical director of prevention and wellness, Providence Heart Institute, and Play Smart's founder, congenital heart disease is a leading cause of sudden death in young people, often striking during or just after play. Play Smart's free heart screenings seek to prevent these tragedies.

"These conditions are rare," says Dr. Beckerman. "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, but a needle that can kill you. We also find a lot of young people with high blood pressure and other conditions that can lead to future heart disease."

Thanks to The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. and other supporters, Play Smart has provided free screenings in schools and parks to more than 17,000 students, including 7,000 in the past year. Nearly 1,200 have needed follow-ups, some for potentially deadly conditions.

Greenbrier feels so strongly about youth heart health that it partnered with Play Smart to provide screenings at its annual company picnic in August.

"This cause is one that is dear to not only me, but to so many here at Greenbrier. I'm so grateful to have been able to play a small role in this generous donation," Tekorius said. "If our efforts can help save even one child from a potentially deadly congenital heart condition, it will have been more than worth it."

Providence will be hosting many Play Smart heart screenings in the Portland Metro area throughout the next year, including one at West Linn High School on Tuesday, Oct, 3, 8 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m.. For more information about the Play Smart Youth Heart Screenings program or other local screening locations, visit playsmartgetscreened.org.

Learn more about Greenbrier online at www.gbrx.com.

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