What: Friends of Scranton native and Jefferson Twp. resident Liam McAndrew see him as a genuine person whose name brings a smile to their faces. He was your typical healthy guy back in 2004 when he suddenly began struggling to breathe while climbing stairs. At the emergency room, he was misdiagnosed with pneumonia, and further examination revealed he was in congestive heart failure. McAndrew was transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, where tests revealed the Coxsackie B virus had caused his cardiomyopathy.
For 15 years, McAndrew, now 46, managed his condition, but his symptoms returned in the winter of 2019. Doctors diagnosed him with end-stage heart failure, and he received a left ventricular assist device implant in April. The device keeps his heart working until he receives a transplant. His positivity has never wavered, and McAndrew tries to live a normal life, working for Maines Paper & Food Service and spending time with his family, including wife Megan and sons Liam Peter and Rory Dempsey.
When/where: Two fundraisers will take place to help McAndrew and his family. Guests can enjoy food and drinks from Stirna’s catering on Friday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. at La Buona Vita, 200 Reilly St., Dunmore, with music by Neil Nicastro plus basket and gift card raffles. A second fundraiser consisting of a variety of donation-based yoga classes will take place Saturday, Feb. 22, starting at 8:30 a.m. at Mission Yoga’s two studios, 1440 Capouse Ave., Scranton, and 639 Northern Blvd., South Abington Twp. Advanced registration is recommended; visit mission-yoga.com.
A GoFundMe page has been set up as well, and checks can be mailed to Liam McAndrew, c/o Love for Liam, 315 Genet St., Scranton PA 18505.
Those interested in finding out more information can follow the Love for Liam McAndrew Facebook page.
Why: All of the proceeds from the fundraisers will go to the McAndrew family to cover unforeseen medical expenses and help them avoid unneeded stress as they focus on their patriarch’s healing and recovery. McAndrew also will miss work after receiving a heart transplant, and loved ones hope to raise enough money to help him take at least a year off to recover.
In his own words: “The community is truly rallying to show some love for Liam. The best response though came from Liam, himself. Undoubtedly humbled by the support and the donations that have already come and that hopefully will, this is not about money for Liam. … When I asked if he was OK, he replied, ‘I can’t wait to have everyone I love in the same room, this has been such a tough year for Megan and I and the boys. We need to be with our friends and family. I can’t wait.’” — Michael Holland, friend
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest