Patrick Dunne has a Big Heart
Senior Patrick Dunne happens to be one in 500 as someone who lives with Hy pertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a complex cardiac disease responsible for 48% of heart attacks in athletes under the age of 35 and marked by thickening of the heart. Patrick spoke about his challenges at Stanford Univer- sity on September 21,2013.
Diagnosed with mild HCM when he was in the fifth grade, Patrick didn’t quit high-inten- sity sports until the start of seventh grade when to continue he would need an implantable AED that shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm. Patrick explained, “After learning about my di- agnosis in fifth grade, it was scary, but it didn’t really kick in until the doctor wouldn’t allow me to compete athletically, anymore. I found myself on the sidelines, rather than on the court.” After adapting to the condition in mid- dle school, Patrick added, “I finally realized that life involves much more than sports and, luckily, I found an outlet with SI’s numerous clubs.” Patrick started actively raising awareness for his disease at SI’s HCM Awareness Week last year. Then in June of 2012, he spoke at the HCM Association’s Annual Meeting, where he shared a patient’s perspective.
Dr. Heidi Salisbury, a HCM Association member and physician at Stanford, approached Patrick afterwards with nothing but praise. When summer rolled around again in 2013, Dr. Salisbury invited Patrick to attend Stanford’s first “In Our Genes” conference to discuss his recent initiatives to increase awareness of HCM in high schools. “After learning that I’d be the sole student speaker among about twenty doc- tors and foundation owners, I felt a bit nervous, but knowing that I could simply share my story rather than pose as a Medical PHD eased those fears,” Patrick commented.
Patrick spoke to the conference attendees for a full thirty-five minute slot and reported that “the crowd was extremely supportive and the Founder of the National HCM Association was actually brought to tears with my presenta- tion.” Patrick’s disease only allows him to play golf, but he is also a captain of Speech and De- bate and Editor-in-Chief of the Newspaper. If you see him in the hallways and want to hear more of his incredible story, he will accept the opportunity with a happy heart.
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