My name is Cole and I am 25 years old from rural Pennsylvania. I grew up with a single mother as my father passed away before I was born due to complications from a kidney transplant after a heart transplant. My mother was my rock growing up and she still is. So when I was diagnosed at age 12, it was her support that made it easier.
It (HCM) was discovered during a simple, routine, yearly health visit. My pediatrician heard a heart murmur, so I was sent to get that checked out.
When I was diagnosed, I did not believe or understand what was happening. When you’re a kid, you feel invincible. I had been involved in Boy Scouts since I was 6, so being able to continue that was one of my biggest concerns. Luckily, I was able to continue and was able to make it all the way up through Eagle Scout.
When I was 15, three years after diagnosis, I was advised to get an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). Again, kids feel invincible, and even knowing what I knew, which when you are 15 you think you know everything, I did not want one. It was only after talking to people who cared about me and also with someone who was my age who had one, that I decided it was a good idea to get one.
Six months later, I received an appropriate shock that saved my life.
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To learn more about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), go to https://www.4hcm.org.
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