For Triboro native Fritz McGrath, Thursday, March 13, will mark a turning point ... bringing to end, he hopes, 40 years of medical problems related to extreme heart failure.
“I’ve had a heart condition for 40 years,” he said as he and his family prepared to leave for Philadelphia and what he hopes to be his last large-scale medical procedure. “I have had two by-pass surgeries, two heart attacks, 11 stents and many more procedures. The doctors told me that I am in extreme heart failure and that this procedure should give me more freedom for life ... It may not prolong my life, but it will make my life more tolerable.”
McGrath is slated to undergo a procedure that will insert a mechanical heart pump into his left ventricle. Once inserted, the pump will then return blood into the aorta, thereby increasing his oxygen and complete blood flow.
While it’s not a heart transplant, the procedure is expected, as McGrath noted, to make his life, more tolerable.
News of the Triboro-area native’s health issues didn’t take long to spread, especially when Paula Manley, a family friend of 30 years initiated the idea of using the social media site “gofundme” to aid McGrath and his family with raising funds needed to cover expenses related to the procedure.
A total of $11,245 was raised via 140 people in 11 days, a response that has humbled McGrath.
“This campaign was started by Paula and her husband Joe and her sister,” he said. “After the first day, I couldn’t believe the totals. It is a very humbling thing to have done for you. It took me and my family totally by surprise.”
Manley explained that anyone who knows McGrath understands that helping him is the right thing to do and putting together a social media campaign was the least she could do, given all he has done throughout the years for others all throughout the community.
As for the surgery, McGrath said he can’t wait until it’s over.
“I am not one bit nervous or in fear of this surgery,” he said. “This will be my third open-heart procedure and this will be the last one. Knowing the results to come from the surgery, I am very anxious to have it done.”
“To all of my dear friends on social media, like Facebook, I cant even start to thank them for not only their donations but kind words of encouragement,” he said. “Prayers are the answer, and all who have and will be praying for me are worth more than all of the donations I have received.”
“Any one who knows me knows that I am humbled by their outpouring of support,” McGrath added. “Even having this story in the Triboro is also very humbling because of all the people it will reach. My family and I want to thank everyone for their support and prayers and donations. And all can be assured that we will be praying for all of them.”