PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A dynamic duo is on a life-saving mission fighting heart disease with fitness during American Heart Month.
It’s a journey of survival for Jeff Perez working out with his daughter Stephanie in Northeast Philadelphia.
“I feel better, I feel stronger,” he said.
For 12 years now, the 62-year-old has been struggling with cardiomyopathy, a weak heart muscle.
“I was starting to have a lot of chest pain, a lot of shortness of breath,” Perez said.
With his heart failing, he said he’ll eventually need a heart transplant. For now, he’s being kept alive with an LVAD, which is like an external heart pump.
There are thousands of people like Perez waiting for transplants. He’s hoping to improve his odds by being in the best shape he can.
Stephanie, the general manager of Planet Fitness in Northeast Philadelphia, is overseeing her dad’s fitness routine.
“It’s really nice to just have him here,” she said. “I always check on him.”
He’s also carefully monitored by his doctors at Temple who have told him these daily workouts are critical.
“Got scared at first,” Perez said. “And I remember what my dad, what he went through before he passed away. He was 63 when he died of the same thing.”
Fighting heart disease is a family affair with Stephanie now paying attention to her heart health while being focused on her dad.
“He’s always done everything for me so I want to return it as much as I can,” she said.
Staying in lockstep, working out, hopeful for a brighter future and having fun together. Mixing laughter with fitness for stronger hearts.
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