Recently, a young Island girl, Olive Hart was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopothy is a virus that specifically targets the heart. What this means is that this virus is killing the person’s heart.
Olivia is 22 years old. She graduated form Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in 2011 and is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont, with a focus on nutrition.
She currently lives on Martha’s Vineyard, taking a break after school. She lives here with her mom, brother, twin sister (Sofia), and her little sister who is a junior at the high school.
Olivia had been working at the Seafood Shanty over the Summer and into Fall. And as anyone who works in the industry knows, your co-workers become your family. For a while now, she had not felt like herself. Then one day at work, she was sent home, told to go to the doctors.
When she did, it was determined that something was wrong with her heart. Here is a 22 year old vibrant, active young woman, her whole life in front of her, being transported to Mass General hospital.
There, she and her mother learned that Olivia’s heart was operating on 11% efficiency. Hard to believe, because she was so healthy and is so young.
For now, Olivia is being kept in the Cardiac ICU. There, medication is helping to keep her heart functioning. This Friday, she will have surgery where a pump will be placed in heart, a LVAD (Left Ventricle Assist Device). This is a temporary solution, while Olivia waits for a heart transplant.
The only way to save Olivia is with a new heart. She is fighting for her young life in her hospital room.
She is on the heart transplant list, but it could be a month, three months, six — everyone is just hoping it’s sooner rather than later. Until then, she has to call the hospital home.
My friend Annie Bradshaw, who’s been a family friend for years was visiting last Friday. She said Olivia was in great spirits, making everyone laugh. She gave the feeling of hope.
Olivia, a very active person, was determined to do something physical, being bedridden is not her style. She was feeling better than she had for days.
While Annie was there, Olivia used the stationary bike for seven minutes, very slowly. Then, her blood pressure skyrocketed and the machines she was hooked up to went crazy. It was a scary sight to witness Annie told me.
Here is this young girl, smiling, teaching herself how to knit to stave off boredom, even though she doesn’t love it, making other people smile and laugh, but yet she can’t even leave her bed. She can’t come home and she doesn’t have answers.
Her mother Salli Hart, works for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and has the care provider for her three other children as well. With all the traveling to Boston, the driving, the plane rides, the hotels, missing work, the expenses have really started to pile up. All of this is so new, she hasn’t really had the chance to work with Island resources just yet.
To help Olivia and her family, a Go Fund Me Page has been started, A Heart for Olivia Heart. Here, people can make donations to the Hart family, help take some of the financial stress away while they struggle with this new realty that will be their life until who knows when. Every dollar helps.
In addition, there’s also an event happening at the Seafood Shanty on Saturday, October 24th from 6:00 p.m. t0 10:00 p.m. — a community event A Heart for Olivia Hart. At the event, there will be free food, a silent auction. music and more. The bartenders are giving their tips as well.
What I love about events like this is that so many Islanders and Island businesses are so generous. It’s going to be a huge event!
A mutual friend of ours, Adrian Zanetti, who has worked with Olivia at the Shanty for a while now, is still so shocked and saddened. To Olivia, she is the healthy one, the one who goes to the gym. She’s the one that is always helping other people. This isn’t supposed to happen.
However, Adrian is excited about having the chance to help with this fundraiser. It is amazing all the people willing to help.
Her friends and family, they have so much hope. They have to. This young girl means so much to so many. She has a bright future, and we as a community will support her every step of the way.
This is a quote from Olivia, from her Go Fund Me page:
“Thank you everyone for your unwavering love and support. I am overwhelmed by the support from my friends, family, and community. I never expected such an amazing reaction and couldn’t be more grateful or touched by the outpouring of love I have experienced continuously over the last week. So, from the bottom of my heart and every ounce of my being, thank you to everyone that has been involved in this process.”
Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about A Heart for Olivia Hart on Facebook and her Go Fund Me page. And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.