Hilliard Northwest News

'Thriver' raises more than $55K for heart research

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Drew McCartt's goal in December was to raise $25,000 by April 30 for the American Heart Association.

He more than doubled that amount.

McCartt, 50, raised $55,300 for the American Heart Association as part of his "Thrive for 25" fundraising effort, so named for both its goal of raising $25,000 and for the 25th anniversary of McCartt's successful heart-valve transplant.

McCartt had exceeded his goal by raising $31,200 through March 29, so he increased the goal to $40,000 by April 30.

The Hilliard resident exceeded that amount by more than $10,000 after receiving a $5,000 donation April 29 from a cardiologist at the Ohio State University Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital . The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, is a heart disease survivor.

"I am overwhelmed with the above-and-beyond support for the American Heart Association cause through Thrive for 25," McCartt said. "Five months ago, I was simply hoping to get $25,000. I never dreamed of doubling it.

"So many have stepped up to support the cause I support."

The money McCartt raised will be directed toward research for heart-related birth defects and educational outreach on heart disease and the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet.

McCartt, who calls himself a "thirver" rather than a survivor, is an avid cyclist and runner.

He was diagnosed with a heart murmur at age 15 and was advised then he would one day need a heart-valve transplant. That day arrived June 3, 1988.

"Until then, (doctors) told me to keep doing what I was doing," he said.

Shortly after he turned 26, and having been married for only six months, doctors determined McCartt's heart had enlarged and the transplant of an aortic heart valve was necessary.

"I was a little apprehensive at first about how much I could do, but learned I can do everything I did before," McCartt said.

In 1995, he was diagnosed with a heart aneurysm, but like the valve, doctors said surgery was not immediately required.

Even though vast improvements have been achieved in heart valves, McCartt's performs as efficiently as when it was inserted, he said.

However, when the aneurysm requires surgery, doctors will replace the aortic valve, McCartt said.

McCartt is a member of the board of directors of the American Heart Association and a partner at Event Marketing Strategies.

He and his wife, Gwen, have a 20-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son.

A video of McCartt's fundraising efforts can be viewed at thrivefor25.org.

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