Growing up in the spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England, 9-year old Miles Gilbert dreamt of playing football like his friends. He thought his dream would be shattered when first he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 5 and then, following a biopsy, learned he would also require a pacemaker. Lucky for him, his mum did some research and came across the PaceGuard website. Wanting her son to be able to participate in his favorite sport with other children his age, she printed out all the information on our website and took it to his doctors and surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary. His doctors gave Miles the thumbs up and Chris Dixon, Chairman of the Killinghall Nomads Junior Football Club placed an order for his player. According to u10/‘s manager Adele Slade, “We have one very excited 9-year-old eagerly awaiting to put it to the test.” On Saturday February 15th, they did a bag packing promotion at Sainsbury’s, a local supermarket in Harrogate, and raised £890 to help pay for Miles’ PaceGuard device. Their other goal was to increase awareness in hopes that other children with pacemakers will learn of its existence. She adds, “Let’s hope we can help others live their dreams of being able to take part in sport, with the help of PaceGuard.”
We are thrilled to hear from Mile's mother that he had won The Yorkshire Children of Courage Award for Sporting Achievement 2014 in the under 12's category. He has now also taken up golf along with football. When asked about playing multiple sports, his mom Beverly said "The great thing is that with the PaceGuard and his new found confidence, he can choose what he wants to do and when to do it." To hear Miles in his own words, watch this short video clip.
I wanted to tell my story on how the PaceGuard has helped my child be a normal child, how the PaceGuard shirt has kept my son safe while playing sports. First, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am that Mr. Armstrong created this protective shirt for children with pacemakers. When my child, Michael Lindon received a pacemaker, we were devastated. This was something that was NOT supposed to happen, he went in for a simple ablation and came out of surgery with a pacemaker. Mikey has always been very active. He played football, baseball and basketball. I was terrified about letting him continue to play any sport because of his pacemaker. I started looking online for some kind of protective device he could wear and that’s when I came acrossPaceGuard's website. I emailed Mr. Armstrong, he emailed me back, then called me and told me how the PaceGuard was tested. I was so relieved knowing that someone cared enough to make such a wonderful device and my child would be able to play sports and be protected. I truly can’t begin to express my gratitude to Mr. Armstrong. Being able to watch my son put on his PaceGuard and go out and play basketball or baseball is such a wonderful feeling. This shirt and device has made me feel safe and most of all, my son feels protected. He never plays a game without his PaceGuard.
"In October of 2012, Ellie was 9 years old and playing competitive soccer when she started complaining of stomach pain. After 2 months of pain and extensive stomach testing, a follow up doctor appointment discovered that her heart rate was low. She was rushed to Lucille Packard/Stanford Hospital for observation and testing, and that's when they discovered a blockage in her heart and advised she would need a pacemaker implant. She was in good spirits throughout her hospitalization until one of the doctors told her she wouldn't be able to play soccer. She was devastated and broke down crying. Thank goodness the specialized team of doctors advised she could play, but only if she had a PaceGuard , and recommended your company and that's when her spirits brightened. I'm happy to say, she returned to the field two months after surgery, and is back playing competitively thanks to this amazing device! There isn't a practice or game that she doesn't wear it, and it gives us the confidence that she will be protected.
Thank you PaceGuard for an amazing invention, without it, she would not be able to play a sport she is passionate about and would be limited on the activity she can do. PaceGuard has provided unlimited opportunity for our little girl, and we are so grateful!"
The Kotecki Family
I am an 18 year old Senior at Indiana Area Senior High School in Pennsylvania, and I served as captain of our school's soccer team this fall. I have an AICD in my left shoulder. Once I received the PaceGuard device, I played several games with it in place, and I had played some of the games earlier in the season without the device. When I played without the PaceGuard device, there was a lingering fear in the back of my head that I might get hit in the shoulder and in my implanted device. With the PaceGuard in place, all those fears when away. I was able to play with greater confidence, and even scored my only goal of the season.
From my understanding, the purpose of the PaceGuard system is to protect implanted devices in athletes of all ages. Its main purpose was directed towards the protection for implanted pacemakers, but I have an ICD in my shoulder. The two devices are very similar, so even though the PaceGuard was designed for pacemakers, we anticipated that it would be an effective guard for ICDs as well, and it is.
Some of the benefits of the guard include: Ease of uses and effective protection. The combination of the undershirt and PaceGuard device is brilliant. The use of velcro in the shirt and on the device makes it very easy to set in place and adjust. The ease of placement of the PaceGuard proved to make it an extremely effective protector of my implanted device. The hard shell and design of the guard also helped in making it an effective shield from any of the dangers that occur during athletic competition. The PaceGuard accomplished its purpose of providing an easily placed and easily adjustable shield for implanted devices.
Overall, the PaceGuard device has proven to be an effective shield from damage to my implanted medical device. It has allowed me to play soccer confidently, and participate more competitively. I am happy that the PaceGuard exists, and that there is somebody out there who is working to make playing competitive sports possible for people with implanted medical devices. I honestly did not think anything like the PaceGuard would exist when I first started looking, and I'm glad to be a user of such an innovative system.
our innovative device has added a boost to Brady's lifestyle. By finding the PaceGuard, Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital (Dr. Beerman) is willing to let Brady participate in Varsity basketball since he passed his stress test with flying colors. He is the first to be able to play basketball of any of the patients they treat. Brady has a heart valve replacement, and of course a defibrillator. Without you device, he would not have been able to participate in sports.
- From an email sent in 2009 by Theresa and Danny Smith regarding their son
Olivia Goddard Active 9 year old
"When my daughter, Olivia, received her pacemaker almost two years ago for third degree AV Block, her cardiologist had recommended we find something to give her a little extra protection since she is so very active, and into sports. However, he couldn't point us in the direction of anything beyond a catcher's vest, etc. We looked and looked , but couldn't find anything. About a year later, we stumbled across a post on Pacemaker Club that talked about PaceGuard, but it wasn't available on the market at that time.
So we tried reining her in (as much as we could) and hoped and prayed she'd be fine. Then I remembered your product, and did a Google search to see if it was available, and it was!
I can't tell you how happy I was to learn this! It is going to bring us such peace of mind knowing she has a little more protection. As soon as she got her PaceGuard, she said she couldn't wait to see her Camp Rhythm friends this summer and tell them all about her new protection. 🙂 We will definitely be spreading the word. Camp Rhythm is a camp designed for children with heart issues, and many of them have pacemakers. So, if you don't mind, we'll pass along your info. Thank you so much for making this incredible product available to the public.
-From an email sent by Melanie Goddard in 2010
Jo Ann Harrison Mother
“As far as our satisfaction with the safety and confidence of your product, it is hard to express our gratification. Born
with a congenital heart defect, our son had open heart surgery at the age of two. The surgery did not go as well as planned and his conduction system was damaged, resulting in 100% blockage. After spending a week in intensive care, a pacemaker was eventually implanted. Being so young, it was placed under his ribs for more protection. He continued to improve and although his heart has since developed an underlying rhythm, he still relies on his pacemaker, especially when playing sports. Once he was 15, his heart was large enough to have the pacemaker implanted into his shoulder. This resulted in it functioning better, but was left unprotected. I searched everywhere in Canada, but could not find anything that would provide protection for him. I was so thrilled when I found your website. I have given your contact information to our Heart Center and other parents of children with pacemakers.
Our son is now in Grade 11 and this year was recruited to attend a high school baseball academy. His dreams of playing in the MLB may be far away, but his closer dream of playing ball at a college in the United States may not be that far away. I am grateful that he is able to pursue his dreams, with thanks to your company for providing him safety and for his parents.... peace of mind!”
Kevin J. Falcone Sensei
"I'm taking the time to write to you because the PaceGuard shield and compression shirt are working out great for me!"
In 2012, I was diagnosed with "Bradycardia" (slow heart rate) that resulted in a pacemaker implant. For most of my adult life I have been training and instructing martial arts. The restrictions that I was facing were unacceptable to me. Karate is a very physical and demanding undertaking to say the least, so the possibility that I would be unable to participate in sparing and self defense was not in my agenda. I tried to fabricate a protective pad for the pacemaker using the inside of a shin guard attached with a sports bra. I was somewhat protected but VERY uncomfortable. I needed something better.
One of my daughters found your PaceGuard while on the web and thought that this would work. I was very reluctant at first to try it, but then agreed to "just try it". The engineering is great and the compression shirt is quality. Simple technology, not really simple, uncomplicated, working very well. Shirts fits better that "Under Armour". All and all I am very satisfied with my PaceGuard shield.
Sensei Kevin J. Falcone
Senior Instructor, American Heritage Goju Karate