Andrew was born with a Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which means his left ventricle was very tiny and his aorta was extremely narrow. Andrew couldn’t survive with the heart structure he was born with. Andrew had three open heart surgeries to reconstruct his heart in order to make it function as well as it could.
Since then, Andrew has been extremely active and healthy. He plays basketball and baseball competitively and gives it his all. In 2021, his parents noticed a difference in Andrew’s endurance. He wasn’t able to stay on the court for more than a few minutes and during a double-header in the spring, he was unable to play the second game due to exhaustion. His doctors determined he would have to put a pause on his activities to repair a severe valve leakage.
On August 13th, Andrew had a 13-hour open heart surgery and repaired the valve. After a few days of progress, it was discovered he was in heart block, went into v-tach and cardiac arrest. After 20 minutes of heroic work, the team found Andrew’s pulse and he was placed on Life Support for the next two days.
Thankfully, Andrew has recovered. Doctors replaced the leaking valve with an artificial one and installed a pacemaker to correct the heart block. He started 8th grade in the hospital, tuning into classes remotely. He slowly worked his way to attending school in a wheelchair.
He has dealt with extreme pain in his feet and legs and a fear it may not get better. He has been attending Physical Therapy to work on the nerve pain that made walking and even sitting in certain positions unbearable. Andrew has fought for his health and has been inspiring He’s beginning to walk longer distances and starting to return to athletics. He’s an assistant coach of the basketball team and is participating in portions of baseball practice.
We have watched the Reicherts juggle seemingly impossible things and have made it out the other side. Annette and Brad continue to coach teams, run activities, participate in carpools and do it with a happy face while continuing to take Andrew to appointments 4 days a week.
In his 13 years, Andrew has had so many surgeries. He’s had 5 open heart surgeries, several procedures through the heart cath lab, a lung surgery, a feeding tube surgery, his tonsils removed, his adenoids removed twice, tubes placed and too many chest tubes and other lines installed to count.
To help them heal from the most traumatic years of their lives, we want to send them to the Bahamas, Andrew’s dream vacation destination. They have been so focused on appointments, oxygen levels, and medical jargon they deserve to have time as a family that is focused on happiness, making memories, and enjoying each other’s company.
With the money raised here, the Family and Friends of the Reicherts will send them to the Bahamas. We’ll pay for their flights, hotel accommodations, and meals.
Thank you for your support and love.