WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) visited South Plainfield Middle School in South Plainfield, NJ to increase awareness among parents, schools and health professionals of pediatric cardiomyopathy and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) that many children face. He also discussed the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act, which Congressman Pallone reintroduced in February 2013.
“Cardiomyopathy is a silent killer, and unfortunately it has struck right here in central New Jersey,” said Congressman Pallone. “Raising awareness is the first step and the HEARTS Act can help prevent these tragic deaths.”
Congressman Pallone was joined by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-NJ), Lisa Yue, founding executive director of the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation, which she and her husband established after losing two children to cardiomyopathy. Lisa Salberg, CEO and Founder of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association was also in attendance along with the Torok family, whose daughter, Anna, lives with dilated cardiomyopathy.
SCA is the leading cause of death on school property. The HEARTS Act was introduced following the death of two young student athletes in Middlesex County. The Congressman attended a game honoring the two students in September 2010 in Edison called “Helmets for Hearts.” The event also helped spread the word about cardiomyopathy, while encouraging families to get their children tested.
The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control, and national patient advocacy and health professional organizations to develop educational materials and resources on cardiomyopathy for public awareness and distribute materials to schools, teachers and parents. It also will encourage schools to be aware of and prepared for a cardiac emergency.