Union News Daily | By: Peter Fiorilla
PLAINFIELD, NJ — In 2012, Plainfield resident Keath Gerald got more than he bargained for when he met with his doctor for a precautionary appointment. Gerald’s swollen ankles, along with the water weight he’d been putting on, led him to believe there was something wrong with his body, but he wasn’t sure what.
After the visit, over the phone, “the doctor said, ‘it’s not cancer,’ so we thought it was just the flu or something,” said Gerald, who was still in college at the time. “When we saw him, he said ‘you have an irregular heartbeat. You need to go to a cardiologist today, and set an appointment.’”
It turned out Gerald needed a transplant to survive, like 2,000 other New Jerseyans right now. Gerald’s medical condition changed his life: His heart was in “failing mode,” he says, pumping at only 32 percent. He couldn’t work out, or push his body to anywhere near its limit. After he passed out one day, in 2013, doctors gave him a defibrillator to control his heartbeat, and then put him on medicine with damaging side effects. Continue reading