Andrew Jones inspires with story

Lifting+up--+Andrew+Jones+lifts+weights+at+the+gym+in+December+of+2015.+Jones+pushes+himself+physically+after+being+diagnosed+with+cardiomyopathy%2C+a+rare+heart+condition.
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Andrew Jones inspires with story

Lifting up-- Andrew Jones lifts weights at the gym in December of 2015. Jones pushes himself physically after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition.

Lifting up-- Andrew Jones lifts weights at the gym in December of 2015. Jones pushes himself physically after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition.

Courtesy of Andrew Jones

Lifting up-- Andrew Jones lifts weights at the gym in December of 2015. Jones pushes himself physically after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition.

Courtesy of Andrew Jones

Courtesy of Andrew Jones

Lifting up-- Andrew Jones lifts weights at the gym in December of 2015. Jones pushes himself physically after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition.

Kristy Pan, Managing Editor

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Since 2009, alumnus Andrew Jones has been working to inspire others, and on April 25, he moved the senior class by sharing his story.

Jones suffers from a rare heart condition called cardiomyopathy. According to Jones, this means the muscle tissue is enlarged and restricts blood flow to the body. It is assumed this was caused by a virus; however, after a prolonged period of time, there is not sufficient evidence to prove what exactly caused his heart to fail.

Jones was diagnosed in the summer of 2012 and spent four months in the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital. Since then, Jones has since incorporated fitness into all aspects of his life, including modeling and making fitness videos.

A major accomplishment that Jones has from his four month stay in the hospital was finding the non-profit organization Hearts at Large (HAL) which was officially recognized as a foundation on August 18, 2015.

According to Jones, the HAL mission statement is that the foundation is committed to saving lives by creating a network that inspires individuals, organizations and communities to increase the number of registered organ, eye and tissue donors nationwide and to eliminate the need for organ transplantation through the funding of research, education, advocacy and service.

“So far our mission has inspired thousands of people to support to our cause. Organ donors, non-organ donors, living donors and recipients have reached out to volunteer whatever they can to contribute to the further success of HAL,” Jones said.

In the meantime, he is currently being treated through the use of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that takes over the function of his heart by pumping blood through his body, which is what is keeping him alive.

Last spring, Jones returned to the high school to visit, and due to his condition, was asked by Health, Physical Education and Wellness Department Leader Ed Manfredi to tell his story.

“We made the decision to have Andrew speak to small groups of seniors as part of our Class of 2016 Wellness TRANSITIONS series. We felt this format allowed Andrew to have better connection to his audience. So, over two days, Andrew spoke to virtually all of the senior class in small groups,” Manfredi said.

Nine of the groups that Jones spoke to were the senior physical education classes and The Art of Leadership Capstone course taught by English teacher Russell Crist and health and wellness teacher Kelly Stokoe.

“I was truly inspired by Andrew’s presentation. I took a lot away from his speech but if there was one thing that was most impactful to me, it was how much opportunity I have and how lucky I truly am,” junior and Art of Leadership Capstone student Halley Dopp said.

Regardless, Jones refuses to give up. Through his incorporation of fitness into his life, he has worked with students, including senior Caila Raymond to find the best ways to continue to push themselves physically.

“Training with him has been really fun and motivating for me because I’ve seen how hard he has worked since he got out of the hospital, and the transformation he has made already is incredible. It just shows that if you have a passion for something, you will find a way to achieve your goals no matter what happens to you,” Raymond said.

According to Jones, having the experience to speak to the senior classes was a high point in his life and instilled the courage to continue to spread the miraculous word of organ donation.

“Today, I do my best to never take anything for granted, to never give up, and after everything that happened in the last year, I know what the human body is capable of. Therefore, I am able to push myself and push others to be the best versions of themselves,” Jones said.