WAUKESHA — 200 teenagers registered for a free electrocardiogram, or EKG, in Waukesha in memory of a former classmate.
"The good thing about EKG testing is it identifies undiagnosed heart conditions like Kai had," said Paul Ybarra, Kai Lermer's godfather.
"It definitely makes it easier on our loss that he is still being remembered and cherished and loved. It’s humbling," said Patty Lermer, Kai's mother.
Kai was a triathlete at Waukesha North High School. His family says he had an undiagnosed condition that can cause an irregular heartbeat and that he never showed any symptoms.
In 2019, Kai collapsed while playing basketball and later died. He was 16-years-old.
Those who knew Kai described him as caring, loyal, and easy-going.
"We don’t want another family to go through what we had to go through," said Michael Lermer, Kai's father.
Kai's family started a memorial fund in his name. They worked with community partners and donations to teach CPR and place automated external defibrillators or AEDs across Waukesha.
His dad said offering free EKGs was the next logical step.
"Kai was all around our age so it’s kind of scary to think," said Mason Hauser, one of Kai's friends.
Mason and his brother Austin both got an EKG. In a matter of minutes, the test measures the electrical activity of your heartbeat, and it can point out irregularities.
"We’re all taking the right precautions because just like him you never know it could be anyone," said Austin.
Kai's parents are committed to turning their pain into purpose.
"He would’ve wanted us to do this to help save a friend's life," said Michael.
The teens can expect test results within a week. Kai's family hopes their story will help others take proactive steps.