Coz Baldwin is an all-around great guy; and an artist, designer, actor and musician/songwriter. He also is a man whose heart is failing him. A heart transplant is his only recourse now.
Born 38 years ago in Lansdowne, PA, Coz showed artistic ability at a young age. He drew, painted, and sculpted incessantly. Got into photography and was drawn to singing and songwriting. He formed a band while still in high school, put out an album by age 20, and joined a rock band some years later. In addition, the acting bug bit him and he acted in live theater productions.
(High school artwork by Coz)
Coz was born with a genetic heart disease called Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). He discovered that he had inherited it when he was 14, but he was determined to fight this illness and not let it take over his life – especially after seeing his father's health fade from the same disease and eventually take him in 2004. HOCM is a degenerative disease in which flexible heart muscle stiffens and ultimately atrophies and dies. By the time he was 29, he needed open-heart surgery to remove diseased tissue, however, that muscle tissue helped carry electrical impulses which regulate and maintain a healthy heartbeat.
Within the year, Coz’s heart wasn’t beating well, and he needed to have a pacemaker inserted at the young age of 30, in 2010.
(Coz at age 14)
To keep working, Coz became self-employed, successfully incorporating his artistic sensibility into web design and development, while working around his cardiac issues.
But that damned heart wouldn’t cut him a break. It continued to atrophy, hospital visits increased and physical activity became impossibly difficult. He gained weight, which only stressed his heart further. He developed congestive heart failure — which meant his heart had to work harder than it was able. His heart muscle continued to harden. His ability to work lessened. His doctors all agree - Coz needs a heart transplant. To prepare for the transplant surgery and get him to an optimum weight for the operation, the doctors will first place a Left Ventricle Assist Device on his failing heart. This is a major surgery with a long recovery.
Because he was self-employed, he is not eligible for unemployment compensation. He is applying for Social Security Disability, which will give him funds to keep on living and keep his insurance. However, he needs money now to pay his mortgage, buy food for himself and his two cats, and survive until he gets disability funds and a new heart.
Between medical costs and living expenses, Coz figures he needs $70,000 for the projected year he will be waiting. That won’t cover everything, but it will enable him to live and continue to receive treatment.
Thank you for anything you can give.
Listen to Coz's cover of Dolly Parton's hit "Jolene" ⇣