Newswise — DETROIT (December 13, 2021) – This holiday season will be especially merry for Dennis Brant who has made miraculous recoveries from heart failure and cancer. 

Last month he completed a 5K run in Plymouth alongside his daughter Ava – the first time he was able to participate in this kind of event in more than 13 years because of his medical issues.

“My doctors never gave up on me. No matter how sick I was, they gave me that chance and that was the extra motivation I needed to fight and to survive,” said Brant, 51, a resident of Canton and the owner of his own construction company.

“Henry Ford gave me that chance and that's all anybody can ask for. A chance to fight to overcome the impossible.”

In 2018, Brant came to Henry Ford after two hospitals told him damage to his heart was too severe to treat, leading to heart failure. The heart damage was caused by two years of chemotherapy to treat his cancer from several years earlier. His doctors believe the chemotherapy treatments led to a condition called cardiotoxicity, an adverse reaction of chemotherapy that can cause direct damage to the heart.   

At Henry Ford, he received a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD), a mechanical pump implanted in the chest, and then eight months later a defibrillator – both under the expert care of heart failure specialist Yelena Selektor, M.D. The defibrillator was needed after he suffered a near-fatal heart arrhythmia.

“When I saw him for the first time, I wasn’t sure we could save him,” recalled Dr. Selektor. “He was extremely sick and struggling for every breath. We were able to put together a comprehensive treatment plan that included multiple infusions and medication to prepare him for the LVAD surgery.”

Brant attributes his survival to the expertise and support of his heart care team, and his relentless drive to live and be around for his family. He lives life to the fullest and is very grateful for a second chance.

“Finishing the 5K race last month was incredible when I think back that two-and-a-half years ago I was just getting out of a wheelchair,” said Brant who after the LVAD surgery had to learn to walk and exercise again.

Brant has made great strides with the LVAD.  “He has bloomed,” said Dr. Selektor, “He bloomed into this vibrant person that we see today. He had all this internal strength and power to live.”

Looking back at where it all started in 2008 with the cancer diagnosis, Brant feels like he’s lived three lifetimes: before cancer, after cancer and after receiving the LVAD.

“The strange part is that I don’t feel 51 years old, I feel like I should be 35. I missed all those years,” he said, adding that his journey as an emotional and mental roller coaster has come full circle.

“My daughter said to me ‘Great job dad!’ as we crossed the finish line together for the 5K race,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it. I was able to show up, participate and finish.”