Surrounded by bobbleheads, lifelong Astros fan awaits heart transplant at hospital

By Mary Ann Martinez, Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - A lifelong Houston Astros fan will be cheering on her favorite team Wednesday from the hospital room where she is awaiting a heart transplant.

The bobblehead version of pitcher Justin Verlander is keeping Mandy Nathan company at Houston Methodist Hospital as she will watch the Astros take on the Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series.

“I finally got to the point where I needed to get on the heart transplant list,” Nathan said.

The 52-year-old wife and mom suffers from heart failure, and a pump attached to her is helping prevent organ failure.

“Unfortunately, Mandy has very, very high levels of antibodies, so that basically excludes 99% of potential donors,” said Dr. Barry Trachtenberg.

Even though hearts have been available for her, they weren’t a match because of her antibody levels. Efforts to lower those levels have twice failed.

“The two previous protocols didn’t work (and) were very disappointing,” Nathan said. “This one hopefully, hopefully will work.”

Not long after she was admitted to the hospital in May, Astros bobbleheads started to show up in her room.

“A lot of people know that I’m an Astros fan, and so when they went to baseball games this year, they caught the little bobbleheads (and) they would bring them in to me,” Nathan said.

Now, there’s a growing collection of prayer candles, rally towels and a replica of the Astros’ 2017 World Championship ring.

“We’ve just always been big Astros fans, even when they were horrible,” Nathan said. “We would go to the games because we knew we could sneak down to the good seats and sit right behind the dugout because nobody else was there.”

All of this is keeping her hopes up, while she waits for a new heart.

Despite all the adversity, Nathan will be cheering on her beloved Astros from her hospital room while sporting her lucky rainbow pants.

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