Clayton holds 'HeartChase' to honor local teen - WNCN: News, Weather

Clayton holds 'HeartChase' to honor local teen

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Hundreds of participants in the "HeartChase" rush past the starting line for the Saturday event. Hundreds of participants in the "HeartChase" rush past the starting line for the Saturday event.
CLAYTON, N.C. -

Teams of people, including some dressed in outlandish costumes, converged on Clayton's Town Square Saturday morning to honor the memory of a Clayton High baseball player who died of a rare heart condition.

The "Heart Healthy Chase" had another purpose, too.  It's designed to raise awareness to let people know anyone can fall victim to heart problems.

Sponsored by the American Heart Association and with the participation of scores of local businesses, the event drew hundreds of folks of all ages to downtown Clayton, many of them with a personal connection to Hogan Teem.

"He touched so many kids and adults lives," said his mother, Allyson. "I've talked to people and they're changing their lives."

Among them was Tanner Durham, who was one of Hogan's friends and a former teammate with him on the Clayton High baseball team.

"I wanted to raise awareness for people my age because teenagers don't understand this kind of stuff can happen to them," Durham said.

The 17-year-old athlete collapsed and died at baseball practice from an undetected heart ailment back in December of 2012.

"We continue to be overwhelmed with the people in this town. The people in this community just doing things in Hogan's name," said Allyson Teem.

Shortly after the event began, the skies opened up and a torrential rainstorm was unleashed. But despite the pounding rain, the event continued because folks were still dedicated to Hogan's cause.

"They wanted to be here. Nobody stopped," said organizer Barbara Tew. "It's a spirit. You don't quit this thing."

"Team Pink Lady" consisted of several Clayton High School Students dressed in vibrant pink tee shirts who kept pushing on during the heavy downpour. One team member explained they did it for Hogan.

"He really did so much for all of and anything in memory of him will help us remember will be really powerful," said Sarah Edwards. "Plus helping the Heart Association is something that means a lot to me."

For Hogan's family the heart screening associated with this event is as important as honoring his memory.

Hogan's father, David, said folks should remember walk away from the event remembering "heart awareness and doing things to take care of your heart. It's the most important organ in your body and you should live your life to take care of that."

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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