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First person in LV to get heart pump thankful this V-Day

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 13 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2013 06:50:51 PM CST

Valentine's Day is all about the heart. That couldn't be more appropriate for a 74-year-old New Jersey grandmother, who's the first person in our region to be implanted with a special heart pump.

Valentine's Day is all about the heart. That couldn't be more appropriate for a 74-year-old New Jersey grandmother, who's the first person in our region to be implanted with a special heart pump.

Dolores and Rich Schumann are inseparable which is why fresh off their 53rd wedding anniversary the pair is inside the Lehigh Valley Hospital.

"It's a change, an opportunity, we weren't exactly in a great position," Rich said.

For the past 10 years, New Jersey grandmother of 11, suffered from congestive heart failure but that all changed February 5th.

"I feel better, Stronger and I get around more," Dolores said.

Dolores became the first person in the Lehigh Valley to receive a mechanical heart pump. It's not an artificial heart, nor will it replace her current one but it is a battery operated pump that's sutured to her heart. It takes over the pumping action for a heart that was to weak to work. Doctors call it a revolutionary procedure.

"This gives another therapy, which can extend their life, and their quality of life," Dr. Rim Misselbeck said.

The surgery was such a success Dolores was honored by the Lehigh Valley Health Network cardiac staff.

Dolores has had heartache before. Her son died at the age of 16 due to heart failure. Her family says their was no way Dolores would let that happen to her.

"I think she wants to ensure older as well as younger people are not going to be afraid to have it done," daughter Dolores Morris told us.

"It gives us another lease on life. I look ahead and see things. The already walking around the room already just says to me hey, we're back again," Rich said.

If nothing else on this Valentine's Day, Dolores and Rich, who had his own triple bypass surgery last year, prove no matter the age, you're never to old to be "young at heart."