At 25, Drew McCartt was a newlywed and graduate student about to walk across the stage to pick up his Master’s diploma. But his heart problems caught up to him just as his doctor, who diagnosed him with a leaky heart valve issue when he was in high school, told him they would. McCartt knew he'd need to have his heart valve replaced eventually – sometime before age 30 – and the time had finally arrived. He had recently noticed his fingers and toes were getting cold, a symptom he knew was related to his leaky heart valve. McCartt was diagnosed with an aortic heart murmur as a high school freshman cross country runner, but was trying to keep living life as he always had, until the more noticeable symptoms crept up. 'The natural valve I was born with started to leak and I wasn't getting fully oxygenated blood to my extremities. Those were the first indications,' McCartt said. As a teenager, his doctor's advice was simple: We’ll keep an eye on it. You keep doing what you do - enjoying the outdoors and running competitively. And that's what he'd done. After all, even knowing he had an issue with his heart, the invincibility of youth has a way of making potential problems seem more like forgettable annoyances. If it were really serious, they would have told him to stop, right? He kept going, all the way to the University of Tennessee as a scholarship athlete running cross country. He had enough energy left over to take up speed skating, where a brush with greatness found him competing against five-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden.