Watching Jason Pieroni running around the East Greenwich football on a blisteringly hot summer day, you would think he’s like any other 19-year-old. Pieroni and his older brother Ryan pass the football and the time on the field easily, laughing and cracking jokes.
What most people don’t know about Jason is that he has a pacemaker. He underwent surgery just a few months ago, back in the spring. He was born with his heart on the wrong side. “I was fourteen when I was playing football and experienced pains,” Jason said.
A chest X-ray revealed a congenital heart defect. “My heart wasn’t where it’s supposed to be.” The doctor said that Jason would need a pacemaker within five to ten years.
A long medical journey for Jason began. It was one that included medicines which made him feel sluggish, ablation surgery and finally, a pacemaker.
The East Greenwich native finished his first year at UVM and is enjoying the summer at home with his family. “I feel great since having the surgery,” said Jason.
He’s looking forward to sharing his remarkable story of survival at the HEARTTALKS 2018 Southern New England Heart Ball taking place on Friday, October 12th at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. The Heart Ball will offer guests a glimpse of the American Heart Association’s innovative programs, important life-saving efforts and inspirational stories through several engaging yet brief “HEARTTALKS.” A gourmet dinner, live auction and dancing will also take place.
The American Heart Association was instrumental in developing the first battery-powered, wearable pacemaker implanted in a patient back in the 1950’s. The pioneering work done by those doctors, in conjunction with the American Heart Association, led to the development of the fully implanted pacemakers used today – like the one in Jason.
To purchase tickets for the HEARTTALKS 2018 Southern New England Heart Ball please go here: sneheartball.heart.org