Danville school, community rally around freshman with heart condition

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By Nicole Pence

DANVILLE, Ind. (Oct. 2, 2014)-- It's homecoming week for several high schools, and for the Warriors in Danville, there's a special prince on court this year.

Three weeks ago, freshman Justin Siller was running laps before physical education class when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed.

Siller has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that causes thickening of the heart muscle and blocks his heart's ability to pump blood.

Maggie Rockwell, a phys-ed teacher, and school nurse Kim Romanetz sprang into action.

The two administered CPR and utilized the automated external defibrillator (AED) to allow Siller's heart to pump blood.

"We hooked the machine up to him, and it said shock him," said Rockwell.

When Siller was at Riley Hospital for Children recovering, his friends started a social media campaign using the hashtag #SillerStrong.

Classmates encouraged others to wear green and yellow, which are the colors of Siller's favorite team, the Oregon Ducks.

Elementary and middle school students got in the act and a touching video slideshow tribute was compiled by the school.

It didn't take long for the Oregon football coach Mark Helfrich to hear about the social media support. Siller received a gift package from Oregon with a get-well card and some new Oregon T-shirts and jerseys.

"It brings tears to my eyes to see all that support and how many people that cared about me," said Siller.

Siller is a homecoming prince on Danville's court this year. The community is excited he is back at school and doing well.

"That is what is great about working with kids. You see them come together when it really counts. Tomorrow is going to be very special having him here," said teacher Maggie Rockwell.

Siller is still on restricted activity.

The Warriors play Soutmont at 7 p.m. Friday for the homecoming game.

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