Note from the Chairman

fredI would like to thank you for visiting our website to find out more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and The Gregory M. Hirsch Heart Foundation (GMHHF). HCM is a cardiovascular disease that often goes undiagnosed until it’s too late.

I know the devastation of this disease first hand. I lost my son, Gregory, a week before his 30th birthday. HCM went undetected Gregory’s entire life. My son’s death has taken a piece of my heart that can never be replaced. I felt that a fitting tribute to Gregory’s memory would be to start a foundation dedicated to preventing sudden cardiac death in children and young adults and so, The Gregory M. Hirsch Heart Foundation (GMHHF) was created in April 2004.

Part of our vision is to provide free cardiac screenings to Bergen County high school freshman. To date we’ve screened over 700 students from several Bergen County high schools. Screenings are the only way to know if your child has HCM or any other heart abnormalities. Though there is no cure for HCM, there is early diagnosis and effective treatment. These screenings, now in their fifth year, have proven to be invaluable. Out of all the students screened at these high schools, approximately 8 percent have been found to have some kind of abnormality to their heart and required medical attention.

We are committed to screenings and education about HCM and other heart-related conditions. A particular victory in making the public aware of HCM was the designation of the last week in May of each year as “Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Awareness Week” by a joint resolution of both houses of the New Jersey legislature. This resolution was initiated Spring 2010 by State Senator Paul A. Sarlo to promote statewide awareness of HCM as a result of the awareness campaign started in Bergen County at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HUMC by the GMHF. The resolution was signed by the Governor and issues an annual proclamation calling upon public officials and citizens of this State to observe the week with appropriate activities and programs.

We continue to work with Hackensack University Medical Center under the leadership of Robert Tozzi, M.D., of Ridgewood, director of the Gregory M. Hirsch Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, a division of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) to fund research projects. We are also very proud of the fact that we are 1 of 19 “Centers of Excellence” in the United States for HCM.

I invite you to visit our website often for the latest news and information regarding our efforts to combat HCM and other heart-related conditions.

I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your continued support and generosity. With your help, we can reach our ultimate our goal of screening every freshman high school class in Bergen County.


Fred C. Hirsch