14 Jan A mother’s mission: Raising awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death
A dozen years later, Maruchi Mendez still chokes on her words when she talks about her son, a star baseball pitcher. A strapping athlete scouted by the pros, he keeled over in his South Miami backyard while playing catch.
Ramiro “Toti” Mendez was dead at 20 from sudden cardiac death — a tragedy that Mendez and many cardiologists believe could have been prevented with a routine test.
“An athlete gets tested for how fast he can run, how far he can throw, how high he can jump,” said Mendez. “Scouts know his grades and his test scores. But we don’t really know if everything is working inside.”
Since Toti’s shocking death, Mendez has championed one cause, a crusade that has led her to lobby legislators, pushed her to pore over medical research and, now, has inspired her to write a book, Finding Home: A Memoir of a Mother’s Undying Love and an Untold Secret ( Reedy Press, $16.95) A Spanish translation published by Penguin will be out in April.