Awaiting life-saving heart transplant, Union City woman still staying positive

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Awaiting a life-saving heart transplant, Union City’s Adele Pullins, known by her family and friends for her vibrant personality and caring spirit, is still staying positive after receiving a pacemaker in 2018.

Adele Pullins. Photo courtesy of the NJ Sharing Network.

By John Heinis/Hudson Count View

In 2018, Pullins experienced some breathing issues that she thought simply was part of her bronchial asthma condition that she has struggled with since she was in high school.

However, things took a turn for the worse as she felt “extreme gurgling” in her chest and her nebulizer failed to provide any relief.

“I felt immobile and I could not breathe whether I was sitting, standing or laying back. I was very scared, and it felt like I was drowning from the inside,” Pullins said.

Adele’s loved ones rushed her to Jersey City Medical Center, where the medical team determined that she was experiencing congestive heart failure due to cardiomyopathy.

“Everything happened so fast. It was the first time I had ever been diagnosed with a heart condition and they said my heart was functioning at only 10 percent.”

After two weeks of care at the JCMC, Adele was stabilized and referred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, home to one of the nation’s 10 largest heart transplant centers.

Their medical team successfully implanted a pacemaker and Pullins was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant shortly thereafter.

“The toughest part for me right now is accepting that I just can’t live the same way that I used to,” Pullins explained.

“I only have enough energy to do one thing at a time now. Before 2018, I was always on the go – working hard every day and rushing around to clean, cook, take walks and run errands.”

While Adele’s heart condition may have taken away some of her stamina, she feels blessed to be alive and is optimistic that her health will be restored someday soon through a donated heart and transplant surgery.

According to the New Jersey Sharing Network, there are nearly 4,000 residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant and one person dies every three days waiting for a transplant.

Additionally, one organ and tissue donor can save eight lives, as well as enhancing the lives of over 75 people.

To learn more, get involved, and/or register as an organ and tissue donor, visit the NJ Sharing Network.