26-year-old Andrew Jones from Connecticut first remembers feeling ill in 2012 when he noticed he was having trouble breathing during a run. Things escalated two years later when he began coughing up blood and running a high fever.
He was rushed to the hospital and soon after, the doctors diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a hereditary disease that affects the heart. It weakens it to such a degree that it becomes unable to function on its own but requires a kind of assistance.
Jones became unable to stand, walk, or dress and doctors informed him that if he did not have a heart transplant within the next two months, he would not live. Unfortunately, there were no hearts available for him.
Instead, Jones was fitted for a pacemaker which would allow him to live as long as he carried it around with him wherever he went and made sure to always keep the battery charged.
Essentially, the battery functions as his heart. It helps it beat through the power of electricity and in the form of a battery inside of a backpack. This is essential so that blood is pumped throughout his body.
Despite the experience of being so close to death, he says that he feels extremely lucky to be alive. He admitted that he cries after workouts.
He waits patiently for a real heart, but until then he has to make sure to stay healthy on his battery-powered heart.
Jones recalls the pain he experienced from heart failure stating, “It’s something I would never want to wish upon my worst enemy […] I couldn’t even get dressed without panting and gasping for air – my life was falling apart and I just wanted relief.”
Although the process and his illness have made his life difficult, he recognizes that this is his reality. He is committed to making the best out of what he’s been given.
This is a great lesson to take from Andrew Jones to apply to our own lives. Never let obstacles bring you down or force you to give up. It’s in these moments of tribulation that we grow.
At the very least, Jones’ Story should inspire us all to live healthy and active lives. After all, if he can do it without a heart, what excuse do we have?