Andrew Taylor was born and raised in Brandon. His mom Donna says he was a typical kid and now a typical 26-year-old, but something in the pictures, statements made about him, and his accomplishments, tell me something different.

He was a straight A student, who never had to be nagged to study. He loved football, (and his coach and fellow players loved him) played in the band and graduated with honors from Brandon Valley High School. He went on to study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

But Andrew has been a different sort of kid since he was around 13, when he was diagnosed with a medical condtion called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Essentially this is a disease which causes a thickening of the heart muscle. It makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, can cause shortness of breath, chest pain and a disruption in the rhythm of the heart (arrhythmias).

In Andrew's case it led to heart failure while he while in college. This meant an implantation of a special pacemaker (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD) and additional medications which worked well, for awhile. It also change Andrew's educational direction toward a degree which would land him in the medical device field.

He graduated UNL with a degree in Biological Systems Engineering and wanted to work for the company which manufactured his pacemaker, Boston Scientific. Sure enough, he began his career with them as a field representative in Duluth, Minnesota, in January of this year.

Last July when his heart failure symptoms resurfaced, doctors shocked him and his mom with the information that his heart had reached the end of its function and he needed a heart transplant.

He is now at the Minneapolis Heart Institute-Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis waiting for the gift of life, with his mom Donna by his side all the way. They remain upbeat.

Andrew's friends describe him as; " a pillar of strength, with endless optimism, intelligence, sense of humor and resilience". His smile tells me he is a loving person of tremendous warmth too.

As you can imagine, the costs associated with this procedure are astronomical. So friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Andrew and his mom Donna with the unbelievable expenses associated with this journey.

If you can find it in your heart, to help Andrew with his, please donate on the GoFundMe page now. If you can't donate, please keep Andrew and his mom, as well as the other kids waiting for hearts at Abbott (this was Donna & Andrew's request), in your thoughts and prayers.

For more information see GoFundMe Andrew's Heart Transplant.

Sources: Donna Taylor, GoFundMe, Mayo Clinic

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