Potomac Station resident Tammy Goddard is hoping to recruit a few more members for Team Tammy, and use her own health battle to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S.
Goddard is in the throes of heart disease, and is in the unenviable waiting game of watching her heart continue to wear down so she can be placed on the waiting list for a transplant. It’s a battle Goddard has been fighting for more than 20 years. She had her first pacemaker installed at the age of 21. Now, at 45, she has already had 20 heart-related surgeries, including two open heart procedures, and is on her fourth device. Goddard was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure almost three years ago. Statistically, that prognosis comes with a life expectancy of only two to six years.
Last year, it was a group of Goddard’s friends who started Team Tammy, encouraging others to wear red on National Wear Red Day, Feb. 1, to raise awareness about heart disease. They sold more than 450 red Team Tammy shirts last year, and have filled Goddard’s home of pictures of the Team Tammy shirts traveling all over the world. Goddard creates picture murals for her two children, a 15-year-old daughter and almost 14-year-old son, so they don’t feel alone in the battle their mom is facing. And she and her family, which includes her sheriff’s deputy husband, are looking forward to crossing off some items on mom’s bucket list once she is well enough to travel.
Goddard cannot be placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant until her heart’s output falls below a certain percentage point. She hopes to be on that waiting list within the next year. In addition to her own bucket list, which includes everything from traveling with her family, to running, to renewing her vows with her husband, Goddard also wants to honor the bucket list of her next heart’s donor.
“I’m getting a second chance because of this person. I want to honor whatever they wanted to do with their life. I hope it’s nothing nuts like skydiving,” she says with a laugh.
Just as importantly as looking forward to a healthy future with her family and checkmarks next to both bucket lists, Goddard is hoping that her own struggle can open up the conversation about the silent killer of heart disease.
Team Tammy T-shirts are available for purchase at bonfire.com/go-red-for-teamtammy. Proceeds from the shirts’ sales will go toward out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as saving for Goddard’s bucket list.