Rush Memorial Hospital Foundation

Jake's Story

Please take a look at one of the Rush Memorial Foundation’s new Fund:

  • Jake McKee Heart of Gold Fund

A fund to raise awareness of cardiac-related deaths in children and provide FREE screenings to children of Rush and surrounding counties.
The Jake McKee Heart of Gold Fund will provide free heart screenings, through RMH Pediatrics, to any child 6th grade and above. Eventually, this test will be provided for middle and high school athletes during yearly physicals with parental permission.


Jacob Thomas McKee (Jake) was a healthy, loving, and spirited 4-year old boy who died suddenly and unexpectedly in the fall of 2015 due to heart-related complications. Jake was running in the yard and suddenly told his dad that he didn’t feel good. He then collapsed and never regained consciousness.
As his brother, Drew, pointed out, “good” was the last word Jake ever spoke. The family is taking his tragic and unexpected death and doing something “good”. Parents, John and Niki McKee, along with many family and friends are taking steps to help other youth with important and preventative measures as it relates to the heart.
Like most healthy children, Jake had his regular well-baby check-ups and annual pediatric visits. Sadly, his condition could not have been detected even though tests exist; test that are preformed only if symptoms are shown of which Jake had none. Jake left behind two brothers, Luke (13) and Drew (10). Fearing that a similar situation, such as Jake’s, could run in the family, John and Niki insisted that Luke and Drew be tested immediately. While an EKG and chest x-rays were performed, they were told that an echocardiogram (the main test needed) would not be covered by insurance because there were no medical necessity. As a result, they began searching for heart screenings so the boys could be tested. What they discovered was that these screenings are very hard to find – that’s why Jake’s Heart of Gold Fund is so important. Once the fund has been established ($10,000), children will receive a FREE echocardiogram screening in conjunction with the Rush Memorial Hospital and St. Vincent Hospital. Eventually, we would like to incorporate this screening with the yearly school sport’s physicals.
Here are some statistics to consider:

  • Each year in the U.S., 350,000 people die suddenly and unexpectedly due to cardiac arrhythmia
  • Almost 4,000 of those 350,000 people are under the age of 35
  • One in 200,000 high school athletes in the U.S. will die suddenly, most without any prior symptoms

“While the statistic of 1 in 200,000 may not be alarming, if your child is that one, it is forever life-changing.” —Niki McKee

Whether your child is four, fourteen, or twenty-four, no parent should have to face the most horrific kind of pain – that of losing a child. If one life can be saved through the screenings provided by Jake’s Heart of Gold fund, then we have accomplished what we set out to do…doing something “good”.
There will be a fundraiser coming up in September for the Jake Mckee Heart of Gold Fund, tap here to see details!


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