Colin Kaepernick’s Heart Warriors

[Pictured left to right: Taylor, Teresa, Colin, Kimberlie and Rick]
[Pictured left to right: Taylor, Teresa, Colin, Kimberlie and Rick]
The quarterback you see on TV kissing his biceps and muscling the San Francisco 49ers to victory is providing strength in more ways than you can see.

Here’s the story.

Kimberlie Gamino grew up as a San Francisco 49ers fan in Brentwood, Calif. The same goes for her husband, Michael, whom she married and had three children with in Modesto, Calif. Nathan, Taylor and Cameron. All three of the boys were raised as 49ers fans. All three make their parents very proud. However, Taylor Gamino, 21, has had health challenges that his two brothers, 22-year-old Nathan and 15-year-old Cameron, and many other children never experience.

Taylor was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, a condition that refers to the underdevelopment of the structures on the right side of the heart. In layman’s terms, Taylor was born with half of a heart. The Gamino family learned that their second son had a life-threatening heart defect immediately at birth. They purchased books and diagrams – anything they could get their hands on – to educate themselves about their son’s condition. A surgical procedure for newborns with HRHS was just four years in practice when Taylor underwent his first open-heart surgery. It took place five days after Kimberlie gave birth.

Taylor was one of the fortunate children to survive such an invasive procedure. During the months of recovery in the hospital, time that included a battle against a staph infection, Kimberlie and Michael prayed many nights, asking for their son to not suffer so greatly. Taylor was able to overcome the early health trauma. During this period, his brother Nathan, 13-months-old at the time of Taylor’s first major surgery, was a source of balance and comfort for the Gamino family. Nathan would crawl up to Taylor’s hospital bed and kiss his brother’s forehead.

By the age of 5 and a half, Taylor had endured four open-heart surgeries and suffered a stroke.  When he was 8, Taylor was living a happier and healthier life, though he could no longer keep up with his friends due to exhaustion. Taylor’s oxygen saturation was not as high as other children his age and it affected his endurance in everyday activities. He was more susceptible to illness and he was embarrassed when people asked about the scar on his chest.

Taylor often told his mother that he felt like he was the only child dealing with heart disease.  So Kimberlie and Michael searched for a program to help Taylor come into contact with other children living with similar health issues. “We were flabbergasted that nobody was doing anything for these children,” Kimberlie said. “We recognized the need with our own son and we wanted to step up and make something happen for all these kids.”

Taylor was challenged as a boy, but he had the love and support of his family. Little did the Gamino family know that years later, their foundation and son would have the financial and moral support of the 49ers starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Click here to read more

Source: 49ers.com | Taylor Price

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