FSU headstarts the TOM Project honoring student who passed from cardiac arrest

Sara Filips, Staff Writer / Oct. 16, 2022

Tom in his freshman year dorm at FSU. Photo courtesy of Chris Hagemeyer.

Florida State hosted an inaugural event on Oct. 14 in support of heart health after the devastating death of a former student. 

Toluwani “Tom” Idowu was a passionate athlete who aspired to walk on the FSU men’s track and field team, a brother of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a creative writing major. Due to a sudden cardiac arrest in 2020, Tom passed away at 22 years old.

Following his passing, family and friends of Tom came together and created a student-led initiative in his name to bring awareness and support to heart health. Chris Hagemeyer, a fellow FSU alumni and Pi Kappa Alpha brother is the lead initiative on this project. Hagemeyer has been instrumental in fundraising and organizing resources for the TOM Project.

“He did mean a lot to me, especially in a little brother fashion. He was smart, athletic, kind and authentic. He was the kind of person you want to be around every chance you can.”

The legacy Tom left on his peers was monumental. Students wanted this project to not only honor his memory, but to educate people on the importance of heart screenings and how to help someone experiencing cardiac arrest. The Congress of Graduate Students (COGS) and the FSU Student Government Association initiated the TOM Project by utilizing unused travel funds from the COVID-19 travel bans in 2020. Since the start of this project, students continue to raise money and spread awareness for heart health and access to life-saving training and resources.