Great Nonprofits at Work on Sudden Cardiac Arrest

It was started in honor of Pleasanton resident Michael Gable, who suddenly died in 2009 at the age of 38, killed by a heart disease he didn’t even know he had.

Pleasanton wife and mother Michelle Gable was still reeling from the sudden death of her husband Michael from cardiac arrest on Sept. 17, 2009, when she noticed two weeks later that her baby daughter Grace’s cough was worsening and took her to the emergency room. Doctors discovered that Grace was suffering from an enlarged heart, a potentially life-threatening situation.

Little Grace spent her first birthday fighting for her life in the intensive care unit, where she stayed for one month, and was subsequently diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. Her father Michael had died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM.

“When she was admitted to ICU back in October 2009, she was in complete heart failure,” Michelle said. “She has made a remarkable recovery, a true miracle in my book. For the past year and a half, she has been stable at an 85% heart working capacity.”

Grace is now 3, and her brother Matteo will be 6 in March. In response to these traumas, Michelle Gable and her friend Amy Mayo founded Gable Heart Beats Foundation to raise awareness of the heart disease. Their husbands were both in the San Francisco-based band, Segue, with Michael the singer and Stefan Mayo the guitarist and harmonica player.

“My husband Stefan wrote all the songs with Michael,” Amy Mayo said. “The band was pretty devastated.
“Michelle tried to cope with Grace, and I had the idea, let’s start a foundation. We knew Michael would want to save lives. And we wanted to honor him.” HCM, an excessive thickening of the heart muscle, is the No. 1 cause of sudden cardiac arrests in young athletes, said Mayo, and it also affects one out of 100,000 children.

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