On December 4, 2020, Harrison Edwards’s world turned on its head.
Edwards recalls, “I was very short of breath, felt like I would pass out, had a heavy chest feeling. I also had an extremely fast heart rate and low oxygen saturation.”
Edwards, who lives in Turbeville with his wife of two years Victoria and their three young girls, was diagnosed with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. This is a term that includes all causes of decreased heart function other than those caused by heart attacks or artery blockages. The general broad term is congestive heart failure, also known as CHF.
Three months after diagnosis, Edwards was on his sixth hospital stay. His doctor, Dr. Patrick McCann,
“came into my room and said we need to have a talk, and he laid it all out for me. They wanted to do a transplant immediately but due to my past habit of smoking cigarettes, I would not be a candidate until I had been tobacco free for one year. To keep my body healthy enough and prevent multi-organ failure they equipped me with a LVAD.”
LVAD stands for Left Ventricular Assist Device. This is a mechanical pump that was implanted on Edwards’s heart to assist in the pumping of oxygen rich blood thru his body as well as to prevent blood from backing up into his lungs. Edwards said, “I had been coughing up blood whenever I laid down at night for two months prior to the device being implanted.”
On March 31 of 2021, Edwards had open heart surgery. He described it, saying,
“I was asleep for 38 hours. During the surgery, the doctors found a massive blood clot inside my left ventricle. My cardio-thoracic surgeon told my wife and father that they had no idea how I was able to be as active as I was. Even with the small amount of activity I was doing, I was simply a massive stroke waiting to happen and if the stroke didn’t kill me, it would have absolutely left me with lifelong side effects.”
At only 25 years old, Edwards has been on the heart transplant list for one month. “We actually found out that my wife was pregnant with our third baby girl only three days after they woke me up for surgery. My three girls, ages nine months, five years, and two years, keep me going. Due to their young ages and being two years into this situation, I have made my girls many promises that I plan on keeping. I have been so limited due to my condition and what I am allowed to do. I fight every day towards my goal of a transplant so I can be the father I‘ve always wanted to be and to fulfill the promises I made them.”
Heart transplants are expensive and due to Edwards’s medical condition, he is unable to work. There is a go fund me account https://gofund.me/2ee9615b set up where people can donate funds.
A fundraiser will also be held this Saturday September 17th at Piggly Wiggly in Manning. Lunch plates will consist of BBQ Chicken, hash and rice, coleslaw, rolls, and green beans. The cookout will take place from 12PM to 4PM, and the plates are ten dollars a piece.
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