The Knight Cardiovascular Institute recently hosted a patient forum for over 60 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic heart condition. At the event attendees heard from experts about the latest treatments, lifestyle recommendations and research for HCM. They also heard from Jake Hansel, a senior at Camas High School recently diagnosed with apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Jake’s senior project focuses on raising awareness of the disease and support for HCM research. Below, Jake shares his story.
My name is Jake Hansel and I am a senior at Camas High School. I love basketball and as a freshman I made the varsity basketball team. For two years, I was our starting point guard and we qualified for State for the first time in 51 years. Last fall my doctor recommended I have a routine EKG screening due to a family history of a heart condition. The EKG results were abnormal. After some additional tests, I was cleared to play my junior year but told that I would need to have follow-up tests in March. At the completion of my junior year, I was selected to First Team Class 4A Greater St. Helen’s All-League as well as second team All-Region.
After my junior year, I was in contact with several colleges and had hopes of continuing both my athletic and academic career. Basketball, strength training, and conditioning had always been a major part of my daily life with my academics. I have maintained a 3.99 GPA.
In March after extensive tests, I was diagnosed with apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I was told I could no longer play competitive sports. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a genetic condition where part of the heart muscle is enlarged. The enlarged portion can be less effective than normal heart muscle, leading to symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pain and palpitations. In rare, severe, cases it can lead to an abnormal or rapid heart rate, which can be fatal.
An estimated 1 in 500 people have the disease, yet not much is really known. There are treatment options that can provide improvements in quality of life for many with HCM, but there is no cure at this time. I recently met with Dr. Stephen Heitner, the Director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic at the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. They are conducting very exciting research into new treatment options for HCM that will hopefully eradicate this disease entirely.
My goal is to raise awareness about HCM and raise money for research into treatments of the disease.
Jake will be hosting a fundraiser at Camas High School on January 20 during the varsity basketball game against Skyview High School. If you would like to get involved, the OHSU Foundation is accepting donations on his behalf to be directed towards HCM research. You can make a donation online at http://support.ohsufoundation.org/HRTM17A