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Clippers Open Their Hearts for Heart Transplant Student

Leadership Class and Matthew Moniuszko

Aaron McQuillan and Samantha Wanderer, Advisor and Editor

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A Month of Uncertainty
On November 28, 2016, freshman Andrew Stonier came to Grafton High School and went to class like every other day. He went to first period and had a little cough but otherwise felt fine. On the way to second block, he stopped at the water fountain and then ran up the stairs to avoid being late to class.

Upon entering the classroom and sitting down, Andrew began to realize something felt off, and in that moment his whole life turned upside down. He was having a heart attack. Luckily, his PE teacher Amy Hunter had been teaching and reviewing CPR as part of her health class and knew how to handle the situation.

Amy realized he was in cardiac arrest. “I looked at him and I could see him turning blue before my eyes. I could see a noticeable line moving up his neck and then his face,” said Amy.

She realized he was in cardiac arrest and immediately began performing CPR, shouting for someone to call 911 and grab the defibrillator. In an attempt to prepare Andrew for the defibulator, she ripped his shirt open.

Deputy Charville promptly arrived on the scene to shock Andrew’s heart back into action. Charville said when he got to Andrew “he was unresponsive and his lips were blue.”

To the relief of all present Andrew immediately responded to the defibulator. “He did [respond quickly] surprisingly. It was within a few minutes and he was actually talking,” said Charville.

Fire and Life Safety personnel were on campus within one minute of being called, in the classroom within three and on the way to the hospital within eight.

From Mary Immaculate, Andrew was transferred to CHKD. He underwent surgery to repair a heart valve the next day, but he again went into cardiac arrest. He was transferred to the University of Virginia Pediatric Cardiac Care unit in Charlottesville for further treatment.

On December 24, Andrew received a new heart because his was too damaged. As a result of his condition, he had to have one leg amputated below the knee. He has undergone many, many procedures but according to his parents Amanda and Mike, “He is doing well. [He] may be able to transfer to a facility closer to home soon.”

According to his mother, “The family is facing many medical bills and life changes. Andrew will need to take 7 medications a day for the rest of his life, he will need therapies, equipment and changes to [our] home.”

His parents took time off work to be with him and his family has to travel 276 miles round trip just to see him.

Clipper Pride
When teachers Holly Conradi and Jennifer Zwirschitz approached Aaron McQuillan’s Leadership Seminar class about creating a commercial for a school-wide Zumbathon fundraiser to assist with SCAs other fundraisers, none of them knew the final product would create the buzz it did. “Filming was a fun experience for a good cause. 10/10 would recommend. Would do again,” said Kiara Harrington.

The Leadership class recruited junior Matthew Moniuszko to shoot the 80s themed, Breakfast Club inspired script written by Elizabeth Owens. In doing so, Matthew took the project one step further-although three steps might be more accurate. He sacrificed his own time to become the videographer, audio technician, director and editor.

Matthew said he used “a Sony a6300, Final Cut Pro X, and DaVinci Resolve” to shoot and edit the commercial.

He also took on a leadership role in the commercial by directing the entire 3 hour and 30 minute shoot while teaching the class about on-set jargon such as “mark one and mark two.” The Leadership Seminar class kicked into indirect leadership mode by “listening to the expert,” according to Allen Blaha.

Before asking Matthew to shoot the commercial, the Leadership class decided that “we are a family so if you are going to help out a fellow Clipper, you have to go all the way,” said senior Cole Evans.

Elizabeth Owns, senior, praised Matthew’s talents as well, “Matthew made it come to life. I felt like I was in an actual movie.” She also said, “I know who this kid is… it had to be good for him.”

Senior Allen Blaha echoed similar sentiments, “He is one of us. If it happened to us, we know the school would do what they could to help us.”

According to Mrs. Conradi’s correspondence with Assistant Principal Karen Moore, Andrew greatly appreciates the efforts of Grafton students to help him and his family. “She [Mrs. Moore] said when she went to go see them [Andrew and his family] they were so excited about this. She asked if Andrew was exited and he said yes,” said Conradi.

Last Three Days
On Friday during her 4B Leadership Seminar class, Julia Larsen, along with input from the rest of the class, created a GoFundMe account for Andrew. Over the course of the next 48 hours–from February 10 to 12–the account raised over $5,000, something she thought “was a reach goal.”

Now the GoFundMe page has an updated goal of $10,000. At the time of this writing, the current total sits at $6,233.

Wavy TV 10 interviewed students involved in the fundraiser and teachers involved in helping Andrew during his incident. Julia said, “With Wavy sharing our story, we hope we can do as much good for the family as possible.”

Find more information or make a donation by visiting the links below:
GHS SCA Website


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