UNC Structural Heart Program holds patient reunion

In March, the UNC Structural Heart Program hosted a group of grateful patients and their families for its first ever patient reunion.

Patients and families gathered with program physicians and staff at the Friday Center for a festive day of celebration. There was food, fun, and even dancing.

Many of the family members gave testimonials on their positive experiences, sharing stories of all they have been able to experience following their procedures. There were tales of vacations, time with family, and resuming those activities that the patients had gotten too weak to do before their surgery.

"Today I'm in good health. I'm working, I'm living my life like nothing ever happened," said former patient Sue Long.

Proudly wearing a UNC t-shirt, Dennis Elks said he came to Chapel Hill requiring the use of an oxygen tank, after a valve replacement, he no longer needs the oxygen tank and is again able to be active.

"I'm out in my yard, I'm able to walk my dog, mow the grass, do the things that I want to do," Elks said.

Victor Lucas of Chapel Hill said before his TAVR procedure he thought his days of playing music and attending festivals were over. He could no longer manage the walking and stamina required.

"Now, I know I will have several more years being out, joining my friends across the country playing music," Lucas said.