American Heart Association Initiative Highlights Missouri Teenager Who Pushes Himself to His Limits Despite His Congenital Heart Defect

Dylan Gallup uses his experience with CHD to spread heart disease and stroke awareness through the #NoMOHeartDisease initiative.

(Missouri), (June, 2019) — Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Missouri, taking the lives of 14,000 Missourians each year. The American Heart Association recently launched #NoMOHeartDisease, a year-long initiative created to increase awareness and reduce the prevalence of heart disease in Missouri. Each month, #NoMOHeartDisease focuses on a different heart disease survivor from Missouri. June’s featured #NoMOHeartDisease survivor is Dylan Gallup.

After a routine pregnancy, Kara and Darren Gallup were thrilled to welcome an 8-pound baby boy. But their excitement soon turned to worry when their newborn son Dylan’s APGAR score was very low. While working to determine the cause of his low APGAR score, doctors discovered that something was wrong with Dylan’s heart. Very wrong. Within hours of his birth, Dylan was flown to Kansas City for further testing. Before doctors could even take a look at his heart, Dylan crashed. Doctors were able to revive him, but more bad news was soon to come.

Testing revealed that Dylan was born without a pulmonary artery, a condition known as pulmonary atresia. Without a pulmonary artery carrying deoxygenated blood to the lungs to become oxygenated, Dylan would in essence suffocate to death.

Dylan’s doctors presented his parents with a risky solution to his heart condition. They wanted to perform a new procedure in which they would use a wire to open up the closure where Dylan’s pulmonary artery should be so blood could flow through the coronary arteries to the lungs. Dylan would be one of the first people in the world to have this procedure. The 6th, to be exact. Of the five patients before him, three survived. Thankfully, Dylan was the 4th.

Dylan Gallup is now 16 years old. He is an athlete, a brother, a son and a St. Louis Cardinals superfan. Today, Dylan’s life is much like any other teenager. He loves to play and watch sports, he spends time with his friends and brothers, and he spends time on his family’s farm.

In his 16 short years, Dylan has undergone many procedures and an open heart surgery. Dylan knows there will be more. He recently had a stent was placed in his pulmonary artery that provided him with over 1000% more blood flow to his right lung. Of his many procedures, Dylan said, “This is my normal. I don’t know what life is like without all of this. This experience has taught me to fight through stuff–to push myself to the limits to see what I can do.”

Of why he is part of the #NoMOHeartDisease initiative Dylan said, “This hasn’t changed my life. It is my life. I am hoping research funded by the American Heart Association will find new ways to defeat heart disease.”

You can learn more about Dylan, as well as other Missourians affected by heart disease and stroke, at heart.org/nomoheartdisease. The American Heart Association also posts about the initiative on their Missouri Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Survivors are encouraged to share their stories by using #NoMOHeartDisease on social media. Video production services for the #NoMOHeartDisease initiative were donated by Rogue Route.  

For Media Inquiries:  

Julie Lay: julie.lay@heart.org, 314-307-0510

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About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at heart.org/corporatefunding.