PALO ALTO, Calif. - Bay Area native and Oakland Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie had a heartfelt Valentine's Day as he was reunited with a man who helped change his life, and allowed him to pursue his dream of making it to the NFL.
On this Valentine's Day, Bay Area native and Oakland Raiders cornerback, T.J. Carrie, reunited with the pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon who performed open heart surgery on him on February 14, 2006.
At the age of 15, Carrie was diagnosed with a coronary artery anomaly, which caused his artery to constrict when his lungs expanded. Oxygen circulation would decrease during physical activities. The birth defect is described by doctors as a one-in-a-million case. Carrie was given two options: avoid physical activity for the rest of his life, or opt for open-heart surgery.
Dr. Frank Hanley ended up performing the surgery on Carrie at Oakland Children's Hospital. At the time of the procedure, the doctor had performed roughly 10-12 open heart surgeries on children. Now, he's done more than 100, and has evolved his technique through the years.
Carrie would go on to have a successful collegiate career at Ohio University, before being drafted by Oakland Raiders in 2014. These days, Hanley is a surgeon at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.
Carrie and Hanley met Wednesday at Stanford for first time since the surgery took place. The two were also joined by Taylor Gamino, a 24-year-old from Ripon, who was also a patient of Hanley. Gamino is the namesake for Camp Taylor, a free medically supervised camp for children with heart disease in Modesto.
The group spent time meeting with other young patients undergoing treatment with the goal of providing hope and inspiration for their journey.
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