My son, Anthony Bates was a K-State football player who died in 2000 at age 20 from sudden cardiac arrest.
He had an undiagnosed heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or enlarged heart. Despite years of routine sports physicals, heart screenings that could have saved his life had never been part of his checkups.
In the midst of this devastating loss, my adopted K-State family came to my rescue. The university supported my resolution to make sure young athletes were receiving heart screenings. In 2002, I started the Anthony Bates Foundation in memory of my son. The nonprofit foundation has performed more than 8,700 heart screenings on young athletes in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, California, Texas, New York, Nevada and Washington schools.
K-State Coach Bill Snyder first encouraged me to start screenings. Today, nearly all K-State athletes are screened at the annual Anthony Bates Foundation heart screening in Manhattan, Kan.
I had always been very involved in Anthony's life. I did what I could to help my son because he was my family. Once my son died, everyone became my family — especially K-State.
Making a difference in communities through family support. That's the Wildcat way.