For One Boy, a New Heart Is Just the Beginning
Prevention & Treatment Born with a heart defect, 10-year-old Tayt Andersen received a much awaited heart transplant last June. While successful, he still faces many obstacles.
Tayt Andersen was born without a left ventricle (called hypoplastic left heart syndrome), the part of the heart that pumps blood to the lungs. A big fan of Ellen DeGeneres, his quest for a new heart caught the attention of the talk show superstar who not only invited him to appear as a guest several times but also calls him her only boyfriend.
Last June, after being denied three times, Andersen was the recipient of a much needed heart transplant. While his mom, Chrissy, said he has much more energy, his struggles are not over.
“Afterwards is just as tough as before. You are still sick, just a different type of sick,” explains his mom, adding that Tayt takes 10 medications a day and will require more surgeries. The number one concern is rejection, but even a common cold can throw his immune system into a tailspin.
In addition to building up immunity, she hopes he’ll be able to ride a bike—something most of his third grade schoolmates take for granted.
Being an advocate
But perhaps her biggest wish is for parents to consider organ donations. “If my son becomes the face of pediatric organ donations, I know I will have accomplished so much,” says Andersen. “Maybe there is a parent struggling, and hears Tayt’s story.” She who hopes to meet Tayt’s donor family once the year waiting period is up.
“One selfless act can save at least 25 children,” Andersen adds. “These kids are dying and we don’t know how long Tayt would have lasted without the transplant.” She noted that the recipient handles the financial costs and that physicians remove the organs with respect to the donor to allay any funeral concerns.
Tayt is preparing for his next date with DeGeneres, who has helped keep him strong over the years. He first started watching her show with his mom during long hospital stays and now he’ll be DeGeneres’ VIP guest at this summer’s premiere of “Finding Dory.”