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Carrie and Taylor Gamino Toured Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Visited Dr. Hanley and Heart Patients and Delivered a Heart Warrior Message
Palo Alto, CA – February 14, 2018

Oakland Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie has something special in common with 21-year-old Taylor Gamino.  They were both born with congenital heart defects and have undergone open heart surgery by pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Frank Hanley, MD, at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.  Carrie and Gamino are forever grateful to Dr. Hanley and chose Valentine’s Day to express their appreciation.  Dr. Hanley, Carrie, and Gamino each have a “Heart Warrior” message for the heart patients in the hospital and went to spread some Valentine’s Day cheer.

Carrie was diagnosed with a one-in-a-million heart defect while he was at De La Salle High School in Concord, CA.  He and his family made the decision to undergo open heart surgery to repair his heart defect, which was performed on Valentine’s Day in 2006 by Dr. Frank Hanley at Oakland Children’s Hospital.  After a long recovery, Carrie was able to return to high school football and chase his dreams to the NFL.  Gamino was born with Hypo-Plastic Right Heart with intact ventricular septum (Half of a heart) and underwent four open heart surgeries and suffered a stroke in the first 5 years of his life.  Gamino’s limitations, due to his heart condition, inspired his family to create the nonprofit organization Camp Taylor, which bares his namesake, a free medically supervised California camp for children with heart disease.

Through Camp Taylor, Carrie and Gamino have become close friends and are both very involved in connecting with children who have heart conditions.  Carrie brought a gift for each of the heart patients, a “TJ Carrie Heart Shadow Buddy”. This buddy, which was designed to be a “friend like me”, has an incision down the chest and a red mended heart, complete with Raiders shorts and Carrie t-shirt. Gamino, a college student, volunteers year-round on behalf of Camp Taylor at camp programs mentoring younger teens with heart disease, advocating for CHD patients, and regularly visiting hospitalized cardiac kids delivering gifts and adding hope back into the lives of the parents.

“I would never take my heart surgery away.  I think the biggest thing I continue to stress, that a lot of people probably don’t know about me, it was because of my heart surgery I’ve been able to be so driven and so optimistic, dedicated, and motivated to continue to want to work hard in life and be who I am.  I would never take it back because I think without it I would be a different person today.  I challenge all of the kids  who go through that procedure to take a look at what they’re going through and let it be a staple for who they’re going to be for the rest of their life.”  – TJ Carrie

“We can never make the scar go away completely.  I say own the scar.  It’s your battle scar!”  –Dr. Frank Hanley