Montpelier Mansion will be closed for a period of time this year for some major restoration work dealing primarily with moisture control issues. While the actual facility is closed, some programs usually offered there will be held at different venues in the community or outdoors on the mansion grounds. On Feb. 26, in celebration of Black History Month, Montpelier and the Deerfield Run Community Center are hosting a free hands-on experience for children ages 5 through 12, focusing on making corn husk dolls. These dolls will be like those the children in 18th-century Maryland made and used as playthings. The event is scheduled from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the community center.
On Wednesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m., members of the Maryland Historical Society invite participants to the interactive "Eve of the Battle," to experience events as they occurred around Fort McHenry in 1814. This takes place at the Montpelier Arts Center. There is no admission charge.
During the period of renovation at the site, please call 301-377-7817 to confirm all events.
February is National Heart Month. Throughout the month, organizations including the American Heart Association, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health conduct campaigns aiming at educating the public about the prevalence and prevention of heart disease. We are all urged to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, monitor blood pressure and see our doctor regularly. One aspect of heart health, which has been gaining more attention in recent years, is the sudden and tragic deaths caused by unexpected and undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia. Each year the CDC estimates that 400,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Of these fatalities, approximately 4,000 are young people under age 35, and this rate, particularly among young athletes is increasing. The Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) Foundation issues guidelines for parents and coaches of young athletes to consider regarding sudden cardiac arrest. Symptoms usually occur suddenly and include fainting or seizures during exercise, consistent or unusual chest pain and shortness of breath during exercise. Cardiac arrhythmia can be treated if diagnosed in time.
The CDC and the National Institutes of Health are developing a program to explore and provide greater understanding of sudden death in the young (SDY). Currently, schools and coaches are urged to be vigilant and to be certain that an automated external defibrillator (AED) is readily available during sports events. Timely use of this device can sometimes save lives. My family knows all too well the catastrophic nature of sudden cardiac arrest.
Our son, Daniel, died 10 years ago this week while playing soccer. He was 19 years old, with no known arrhythmia. As his family and friends gathered to honor Dan's memory, we have all added our voices to the chorus urging awareness of all types of heart disease and measures that can be taken to save and prolong life.