Abington Teen Takes Cardiovascular Health to Heart
Jameson Gagnon is a young man on a mission.
Over the past four years, the 13-year-old Abington Middle School student has worked to raise both awareness and funds to help promote heart health.
Through various fundraising efforts he has undertaken individually, in school, and as a National Youth Heart Ambassador for the American Heart Association (AHA), Jameson has raised over $10,000 for a cause that is near and dear to his heart.
Several members of Jameson’s family have experienced serious heart conditions including, his dad, Justin, who has atrial fibrillation (afib) due to heart failure, and his mom, Joanne, who has been treated for pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart). A virus they both contracted during a flight 10 years ago triggered their heart troubles, Joanne said.
When Jameson’s grandmother underwent a quadruple bypass surgery four years ago, he decided he wanted “to get people more aware about the importance of heart health.”
During COVID, when his school had switched to remote and hybrid learning and did not participate in the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge, Jameson decided to launch his own fundraising campaign.
Whether he is organizing a can drive or delivering goodie bags around his neighborhood, Jameson is “all in” when it comes to advocating for heart health.
To spread awareness to an even larger audience, Jameson creates informational videos and posts them to his website and social media channels. With his Irish Setter, Guinness at his side, Jameson offers tips to maintain cardiovascular wellness by choosing healthy snacks, exercising, and avoiding stress. Other videos tackle topics like how to recognize stroke warning signs and steps for Hands Only CPR to help someone in cardiac arrest.
Jameson’s fundraising and video campaign did not go unnoticed by the American Heart Association, which first named him Youth Heart Ambassador in 2021. He’s served as a National Youth Heart Ambassador for the Northeastern Region since 2022 and will apply to continue in the role this year, Joanne said.
Following another busy American Heart Month, in which he supported the AHA through speaking engagements, Power Point presentations, and fundraising, Jameson is now gearing up for next month’s Set the Pace road race for heart health, benefitting South Shore Health’s Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Center.
Jameson learned about the race a few months ago when he was delivering Christmas gifts to children in South Shore Hospital’s pediatric department over the holiday. Always eager to further the cardiac health cause, Jameson asked the staff he met at the hospital how he could help South Shore Health.
On April 29, Jameson and about 18 members of his extended family – including Guinness – will step out for the 11th annual Set the Pace race, which includes a 5K, 1-mile walk, and a fun run for kids 10 and under. Jameson said he is looking forward to addressing the crowd on race day, sharing his story and spreading the message.
Looking ahead, Jameson said he wants to continue to set and achieve even greater goals in his ongoing mission to promote heart health.
“I want to work to make CPR training and certification a high school graduation requirement in Massachusetts,” he said.