400th heart transplant recipient looks forward to life without assist device
Cheryl Jones, 67, of Hampton, Va. didn’t let heart disease keep her down. She still rode two-up on the back of her husband’s full-dress motorcycle with a portable ventricular assist device implanted six years ago. Cheryl had lived with ventricular tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) symptoms for years until receiving the assist device through the Sentara Advanced Heart Failure program. She’s now looking forward to life without her battery-powered sidekick after receiving the program’s 400th transplanted heart.
“The way it worked out was a miracle,” says Jones, a retired administrative assistant with the Hampton City Schools. She blames, or credits, a suspected bout of food poisoning during a visit to Charlottesville for sparking cardiac symptoms that put her into Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk and bumped her to the top of the waiting list. After a month as an inpatient, Cheryl was preparing to go home on a Friday afternoon when a donor heart became available. After an out-of-town flight to retrieve it, the heart was implanted during the wee hours of Saturday morning, August 5, 2017.
“My family and I have been praying for a good heart,” Jones says, “and it’s a good, strong heart.”