When he was just 15 years old, Troy was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, meaning the valve separating the upper and lower chambers of his heart was not closing properly. Even with this condition, he had no real issues until he was in his late 20s. In 2000, doctors implanted an artificial mitral valve, but it had to be replaced in 2006, along with an aortic valve.
He now suffers from Marfan's syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting his heart's connective tissue. His brother battled the same illness and required a heart transplant 15 years ago. Troy has also been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy and cardiomegaly. Doctors say a heart transplant is critical to his survival.
Troy is participating in a clinical study and was the first person to receive a total artificial heart in his region of the country. He is only the second person in the United States to go home with the device implanted. Although his artificial heart is helping him regain his strength, it requires him to be with someone at all times, in case the device malfunctions. His new heart does not allow him to live a normal life and forces him to rely on others for every heartbeat.
To read more about Troy or to make a donation in his honor, please visit his bio on the NFT website.