HEART HERO: Young man born with rare heart condition shares his journey

By: John DeLuca

Email: jdeluca@abc6.com

Twitter: @JDeLucaABC6

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Jason Pieroni’s story is a rare and remarkable one.

It’s rare because of the condition he was born with.

It’s remarkable because of his upbeat attitude and maturity well beyond his 20 years.

You’re really not going to believe this story, Jason’s heart is on the wrong side, and its upside down.

Even more startling, he and his parents didn’t find out about it until he was 14.

Performing is more than just a way to showcase singer/ songwriter Jason Pieroni it’s also a way to deal with things you have to deal with things young people should never have to deal with.

Jason said,” I would write lyrics or just write poetry just to get my thoughts out. Instead of like internalizing everything I could just really get it out of my system”.

Jason definitely had a lot to get out of his system.

“Jason: my heart instead of being on the left side, it’s flipped so it’s like mirrored but on the right side, and it’s also upside down”.

Yes, on the right side, upside down!

The extremely rare condition is called ventricular inversion.

As if this story couldn’t get more shocking, he and his family first found out about it when he was 14 at the doctor’s office for sore ribs after taking a big hit on the football field.

I know what you’re thinking, how could this have been missed for so long?

The Pieroni’s wondered the same thing.

All of the exams, checkups no one ever caught it. The rhythm they were told was fine, he was a healthy child. He played sports. All of them.

No problems except for low stamina, everyone kind of brushed that off.

I asked Jason at any point did he ever suspect something wasn’t quite right?

He thought back to kindergarten and the pledge of allegiance, he told me he always put his hand on his right side where he felt his heart beating, but his teachers would tell him he was wrong, that his hand should be on the left side.

As Jason, Joan and Ed started meeting with pediatric cardiologists, and they learned more the panic and fear of all the ‘what ifs’ started to go away.

His father said, “In knowledge there’s comfort. So, as we learned more, as we got comfortable with what we could expect that’s when we settled in and would kind of say, this is the new norm”.

Never one to dwell on things, Mr. Chill leaned on his music, and his positive attitude.

“I was made this way and there’s really nothing I can do to really change it so I just have to kind of embrace what I have and make the best out of this situation” Jason said.

Jason has had 2 heart surgeries, one for a rapid heart rate, and another just a few months ago he had a pacemaker put in.

His prognosis? Doctors told him he has no limitations.

He says he has way more energy now with the pacemaker, and he’s going to need it.

Friday October 11,  he’s being honored by the American Heart Association at an event in Providence sponsored by ABC6, where he’s also going to perform.

 

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018