Brothers Marvin to benefit from golf tourney

ELIZABETHTOWN - Two teenage brothers faced with a life-threatening heart condition are inviting golfers from around the North Country to join them once again for a day out on the greens.

The second annual Brock and Connor Marvin Golf Tournament will be held at The Westport Country Club Friday Aug. 21, a fundraiser to support the two boys, who anticipate exorbitant out-of-pocket medical expenses.

After he suffered a heart attack in April 2008, doctors discovered 15-year-old Brock Marvin had dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to grow three times its normal size and pump blood at a rate significantly lower than the average person.

Since then, Brock's father, Walter "Smitty" Marvin III, mother Darlene Mitchell and stepmother, Margot Roemischer, have undertaken a continued effort to seek effective treatment for him, and raise funds to pay for it.

Last year's tournament, held at the Lake Placid Club, drew over 140 golfers and raised more than $12,000 for a medical trust fund set up to do just that. This year's tournament has some additional goals, however.

Last fall, the Marvins decided to have 13-year-old Connor tested for the disease, too, since it is often the result of a genetic defect. In March, doctors confirmed the test as positive.

"His heart had already started to enlarge at that time," said Roemischer, noting that the early detection will hopefully provide an advantage in treatment.

Though both boys have been able to lead a relatively normal lifestyle, they have each had pacemakers implanted to prevent cardiac arrest and have had to give up any activities that will elevate their heart rate. As a result, golf has become one of their favorite sports.

Treatment for the disease is limited, and many patients eventually require heart transplants. A new treatment involving adult stem cells has shown promising results, but is extremely expensive and not widely available.

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