When Taylor MacLean was a sophomore in college, she was diagnosed with heart disease. The news came as a shock, but with drugs and regular doctor’s appointments, she was expected to live the typical life of a young woman in her early 20s.
Unfortunately, Taylor’s health deteriorated. In 2014, she was diagnosed with heart failure. She would need a heart transplant.
Soon after her diagnosis, Taylor’s doctors performed open-heart surgery to implant a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) in her. This pumped blood from the left ventricle of her heart to the rest of her body while she waited for a donor.
Even in her darkest moments, Taylor would remind herself how much she had to be thankful for, and she committed herself to staying positive. As a psychiatric occupational therapist, Taylor often imparted this lesson on her patients.
“I think I would initially have that moment of, ‘Why is this happening?’” said Taylor. “I think that’s kind of a natural feeling to have, but would very quickly switch myself into a different gear.”
It was around this time that Taylor became involved with the American Heart Association after attending a “casting call” for survivors of heart disease and stroke in Lowell. Taylor’s positivity stood out, and her attitude and story were an inspiration to everyone she met that night.
Several weeks later, Taylor received the call she had been waiting for: there was a potential donor heart available. On Dec. 2, 2015, she received her new heart.
“It was just this flood of emotions that is totally indescribable,” said Taylor’s older sister, Madison MacLean Power. “You’re excited. You’re thrilled. You’ve been waiting for this day for so long. But on the other hand, you’re terrified, you’re anxious, and you know this is the beginning of a new journey.”
Taylor’s family and her doctors helped her get through this challenging time. The result of that is what you see now.
Taylor is thriving more than one year after her surgery. She recently started a job in the cardiology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Later this month she will share her story at the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon in Boston.
“I can’t put into words how grateful I feel for this opportunity to be able to live this life that I’ve always dreamed of,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s doctors call her an inspiration to survivors of heart disease, young and old.
“I am so very proud of Taylor and how she’s coping and how much she’s contributing not just to her own life, to the life of science, but also to the American Heart Association,” said Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, one of Taylor’s cardiologists and the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Taylor’s story is why it is critical that we fund the medical research to help scientists make advancements in the field of cardiology. Taylor is why we need to support our Go Red For Women movement, where survivors of heart disease and stroke find an empowering sisterhood living in hope together.
Taylor is why, and you are how.
This year’s Go Red For Women Luncheon will be held Friday, Feb. 24, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. For more information, click here.