On August 23, 2006, the first day of his junior year, Dan collapsed and died of an undiagnosed heart condition.
Dan Lunger was a vibrant 16-year-old Standley Lake High School Junior. I always believed that he thought school was created so he could have a social life, not academic. Grades came easy, but his friends and his girlfriend Corinne were his passion.
Dan was an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts and loved the outdoors. He had been to the Boy Scout National Jamboree, had done a 100-mile back pack trip at Philmont Boy Scout ranch, and a 90-mile canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of Canada. He loved rock climbing, but wearing his complete uniform was a challenge.
Dan was also an accomplished swimmer. Having been born inFlorida, Dan learned to swim almost as soon as he could walk. We saw his talent when he was ten years old and swimming faster than his older brother. True to Dan’s style, practice was always a social event. He starting coming into his own as a sophomore in high school. He was a four time conference champion. At the high school state meet, he was 2nd in the 100 backstroke and 8th in the 50 free. His time in the 100 backstroke also made him a High School All American. The summer before his death he qualified for Junior Nationals where he swam races that ranked him 10th nationally in the 50 free, and 12th nationally in the 100 free for all 16 year olds.
Activity was a given in Dan’s life and at no time did he ever show any sign of a heart problem. We now learned that the doctors think he had a genetic condition called ARVD where healthy heart tissue is replaced with scar tissue and that tissue interferes with the natural heart rhythms causing death.
Dan was a joy, but far from perfect, just a normal teenage boy who had dreams and desires. We hope through better education of heart conditions in youth, we can help another family avoid the loss and pain we still feel every day.