Think you’re obsessed with the battery life of all your devices?
Andrew “AJ” Jones has you beat.
He doesn’t have a discernible pulse. He doesn’t have a working heart. And as he says, “I’m pretty much the best looking zombie you’ll ever see.”
That’s because Jones, a professional fitness model from Farmington, Connecticut, relies on an artificial heart and is constantly connected to two batteries and a computer that he carries in a backpack wherever he goes.
“I always have to have batteries charging,” Jones says in the video above, produced by Great Big Story. “At night, when I’m going to bed, I’ll plug my phone in, and then I’ll plug myself in.”
Jones was diagnosed in 2015 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle thickens without an obvious cause; his doctor told him he’d need a transplant. In the meantime, Jones received a left ventricular assist device, a mechanical pump that transports blood from the lower heart chamber throughout the body as a healthy heart would.
Already an aspiring fitness model, Jones didn’t let his heart condition slow him down. He chronicles his journey on Instagram and in videos alongside fitness instructional clips on his YouTube channel, which currently has more than 55,000 subscribers.
His story is gaining momentum online this summer, with profiles in Upworthy, The Daily Mail and NBC, along with Great Big Story’s video, titled “If I Only Had A Heart.”
“I am so pumped this story is going big!!!” Jones said of all the attention. “Let’s keep inspiring as many as we can!!”
Jones is one of the nearly 120,000 people currently on the donor waiting list for an organ, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing and Jones’ own organization, Hearts At Large, which he founded to raise awareness for the need of donors and create a network for those in need of donations.
According to UNOS, one organ donor can save up to eight lives, yet an average of 22 people die a day because an organ wasn’t available in time.
You can sign up to be an organ donor through UNOS, which will direct you to your state’s official donor enrollment system.