On Saturday September 30th at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, 252 people gathered to celebrate the short life of Lee Andrew Hirsch.

Lee’s life was cut short because of Viral Myocarditis, which attacked him suddenly in November of 2015 and stole his life at age 31, from so many that loved him.

His mother, Giustina Schiano, was devastated by his loss and wanted to raise awareness about the disease and funding for education and research, to stop it from affecting other families as it did hers. In this undertaking, something that she had not ever done before, she relied on the help of others. They helped her prepare such an amazing event that would raise awareness of the disease and work towards the funding for a Myocarditis Fellowship Research Grant in her son’s name.

The overwhelming response and outpouring of love that people showed through their donated time and effort, their donations towards the raffle tables and towards the making of the event such a special event, was beyond amazing.  In-Kind donations that cut the costs of the evening and made the donation to the Myocarditis Foundation that much stronger, made for a special event. 

Giustina went door to door sharing her son’s story with others on how his life was so suddenly cut short without warning and the need to educate others on the disease so that others would not suffer the loss and devastation that she and her family had.

It was because of her education about the disease to a family friend that prompted him to seek medical care when he started to exhibit viral symptoms that were not getting better. His Viral Myocarditis was diagnosed early and he was able to survive the disease without residual deficits.

It is because of situations like these that will help raise awareness on the ground level about the disease. Because of his sharing of information about the disease to the physicians in the Emergency Room, they now are aware of and will hopefully save another life from Viral Myocarditis in addition to this man’s.

If these 252 people share information about Viral Myocarditis to another 252 people, and so on and so on, we can save many more lives from this devastating disease.

We cannot be fearful of saying the word…Myocarditis…

We cannot be fearful of being wrong and scaring someone about potentially having the disease…

It is so much better to say the word, question it, and have the doctors investigate it, examine the person more closely, and work it up, hopefully to say “no, you do not have that…”, than to have someone not say anything and to find out months later that that is what someone they knew died from…

Raise awareness…raise awareness…raise awareness…

Education is the key to early diagnosis and improved outcomes…

Giustina, we cannot thank you enough for the awareness that you have raised already with your efforts and we know that you will save lives because of it…

God Bless you…we know that Lee is so proud of you as are we at the Myocarditis Foundation…Thank you for all that you are doing for us.



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