The Kyle John Foundation Impacts Treatment and Outcomes for Pediatric Heart Patients Nationwide

Information sharing through Pediatric Cardiomyopathy program increases positive outcomes for young patients.

In 2013, leaders of The Kyle John Rymiszewski Foundation approached Dr. Steven Lipshultz at the Children’s Research Center at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Their request: help develop a program that would lead to better outcomes for children with cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Lipshultz, also a professor of pediatrics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, would be instrumental in bringing a fellow to the downtown Detroit hospital and in formulating a plan to share data about treatments and outcomes of pediatric heart patients among pediatric cardiologists.  The patients are added to the National Institute of Health Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry, which Lipshultz oversees.

The success of this program is a reduction in the number of young patients who must have a heart transplant and a reduction in deaths from cardiomyopathy in pediatric patients registered. The results are highlighted in a December 2017 issue of the Journal of the College of American Cardiology.

The Kyle John Rymiszewski Foundation was founded in loving memory of Kyle John Rymiszewski by WDET donors Gary Cone and Aimee Cowher, Kyle’s mom. Kyle suffered a heart attack that ended his life on December 3, 2009, when he was just short of his 16th birthday. Kyle suffered from a heart condition called hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy which causes the heart muscle to thicken, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. The Kyle John Foundation celebrates Kyle’s life and makes a difference for children afflicted with cardiomyopathy. 

December 11 marks Kyle’s birthday. Although it’s a hard day for those who knew and loved him, the foundation celebrates the joy that was Kyle’s life through Kyle’s Challenge on WDET. Gary and Aimee created this community impact campaign with WDET in 2012, and it continues to be the largest challenge in the station’s history.

On this day, Aimee and Gary are challenging WDET listeners to get involved in supporting your public radio station by matching their generous support – a $25,000 gift to WDET – as part of the challenge. When we reach our goal of $25,000 by midnight on December 11, WDET will donate back $25,000 in promotional airtime to five local youth-focused non-profits nominated by donors.

Thanks to The Kyle John Foundation and the hundreds of listeners who have participated each year, Kyle’s Challenge has significantly improved WDET’s ability to serve our community while also supporting local youth-focused organizations that are making a difference in the lives of metro Detroit kids.