Andre Gower is a healthy and extremely active 48 years young.
He eats right. He takes his supplements. He just finished an Instagram campaign in June 2021 called #activewithandre where, for 30 days, he encouraged folks of all abilities all over the globe to do just one thing within their comfort zones to take care of themselves, and share their experiences as part of a self-care initiative.
Basically, he does what he's supposed to - what we're all told to do - to live a long, healthy life.
But during an ordinary round of tennis with a friend on Saturday, July 3, Andre suffered a massive heart attack caused by a blood clot, landing multiple days in intensive care. He was saved with mere minutes to spare.
According to his friend Mike, he initially felt slightly dizzy and nauseated. He laid down on the ground, thinking he was merely dehydrated, or that his blood sugar was low. Low blood sugar had happened before.
There was no chest pain.
No grabbing of the arm.
No elephant on the chest.
No dramatic collapse.
But a healthy, fit, very active Andre was having a massive, 100% right-coronary artery (RCA) blockage - a heart attack that did not start with a bang, but within minutes and inches almost ended his life from a blood clot acting like a bullet.
Let’s be clear: this was no movie-style heart attack. It’s called Sudden Cardiac Death for a reason - how little time you have to live. Andre had an hour, and by the time he got on a table, 50 minutes were gone.
He ate a banana, and felt better after a few minutes. Still, something was off. He mentioned his chest felt a little tight. His face and arms, a bit tingly. He saw shooting colors. He laid back down, saying to Mike, "I really hope this isn't some heart issue."
When, after some minutes, Mike could not locate a pulse anywhere on Andre’s body, he grabbed Greg, their playing partner, and they scooped up a very gray and slumped over Andre and rushed him to Urgent Care. This was the first miracle: Mike is a former paramedic, who recognized what was happening and knew how grave the next few moments were. He made the drive of his life.
Miracle #2: When they reached urgent care, Andre was the only patient, allowing every medical professional there to immediately tend to him. They quickly ran an EKG and confirmed Andre was in the midst of a severe heart attack. They hooked him up to a defibrillator and absolutely rushed him via ambulance to the full hospital down the road - miracle #3 and miracle #4 - no traffic - calling ahead to let the Cath Lab know a heart attack victim was on the way. Andre would be their fifth patient that day.
Andre's heart was so offline, they couldn’t get an IV in - they had to start the line with a syringe. With 100% blockage, no blood was moving in his body. But miracle #5 was already in play.
Since they were waiting for him, Andre had a short stop in the ER before being rushed to the cath lab, where they jumped on him immediately.
In minutes one and two, they had two catheters in.
Minutes three and four, the femoral lines were opened.
Minutes five and six. the stent was inserted.
And when the clot broke and began racing through his heart, they worked at breakneck speed to capture it and suction it out before it could reach his brain.
Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.
"They said in another 5-10 minutes, there would have been zero chance of survival. Just a little bit of traffic, or one patient ahead of him in the cath lab, or the cath lab being just half a mile further - would have added up to death. He was at that place - I've seen it a hundred times when I was a paramedic," Mike said.
Fortunately, the medical team saved his life with just minutes to spare, and Andre was moved to ICU to begin minute-by-minute monitoring by staff.
"The thing about Andre's type of heart attack is that your vitals are great, your blood pressure is great, you're talking, you're functional, you're not in pain, and yet you're gone a few minutes later," said Mike.
And Andre didn't want to be in the way of the next person whose life was on the line. While he waited for an intensive care unit room, he insisted to be rolled into the hall to wait. He wanted the lab open for the next person.
INTENSIVE CARE BEGINS
A temporary pacemaker was inserted into his femoral lines to help take over when his heart beat became unstable while it learned to calibrate itself and beat on its own again. He was bradycardic through the next 24 hours, and the temporary external pacemaker did 90% of the work.
Unfortunately, the next day they discovered another blockage - 50% - in Andre's LAD, which means he has a "Widowmaker.” That is currently being monitored and a decision will be made on surgery or installing a permanent pacemaker.
When all is said and done, despite the gratitude for him being alive, he now, like so many of us have, faces obliterating hospital bills from catheterization lab procedures, stents, temporary pacemaker, multiple days in intensive care (ICU), urgent care, ambulance, emergency room care, numerous medications, cardiologist labor, lost work opportunities, and more.
He has a long road to recovery ahead, including long-term cardiac specialty care.
But we are so, so grateful to the miracles and miraculous people who have somehow appeared at just the right moment during every stage of this devastating situation.
He not only did everything right - he did everything doctors tell heart attack survivors to start doing after the first one.
Andre is a caretaker - he is always most concerned for those around him and doesn't want anyone to worry, so he presents his own issues in a lighthearted way. That's his way: 'don't worry about me, this is just a minor thing.'
But this is anything but minor. He needs us, and we need Andre, the leader of our Squad, in our world.
He's been the hero in so many others' movies. And we need him to "kick that massive heart attack right in the Nards."
He needs us to be his heroes right now, his Squad, to grab our stakes and shotguns and dynamite and magic spells and work together to give this awful, awful story a happy ending. Let's send his heart attack into the next dimension.
Andre is currently working VERY hard every single minute to recuperate, starting with getting the pacemaker out, calibrating his heart beat so it works by itself, and then assisted walking, and is so very touched by all the outpouring of beautiful videos and messages of love, support, and encouragement from his fans, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. The love you are all showing him is helping him recover and stay positive and hopeful through an incredibly frightening and challenging time for him and his loved ones, who are all stepping up as much as they can to provide minute-by-minute care, love, and support.
Please tag @andregowerofficial (Instagram), @andregower (Twitter), and hashtag him with #getwellandre! And please, please share this link to as many as you can, over and over and over. All help is valuable help.
Andre will be engaging and talking as he recovers to help educate his fans and other people on what it's like to go through an event like this, and the recovery. He is stunned at how innocently his heart attack presented, and he doesn't want anyone else and their families to go through his situation - especially watching your own death unfold on a metal table.
His advice for now:
“If you’re not feeling well: just go. Better to be wrong than too late.”
DonationsSee top donations
- Kim Mozingo
- Carrie Tucker
- Kenneth Moscardini
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more