A Second Chance to Shine: Bouncing Back From Heart Failure


Heart failure couldn’t slow down C.J. Jones, a familiar face for local residents and visitors. Watch the dramatic story of how he got back his dancing shoes.

For C.J. Jones, the animated longtime owner and operator of C.J.’s Shoeshine at the Peppermill Resort Casino, Valentine’s Day was a night to celebrate. After work he headed out — but he couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. His breathing was labored and he just didn’t feel right. He headed to Renown Regional Medical Center for a check, and he was admitted with congestive heart failure. His heart rate was at 15 percent.

“Mr. Jones has a very weakened heart,” says Thomas-Duythuc To, MD. “He was extremely volume overloaded with water in his lungs and legs.”

Staff gave Jones medications to remove the fluids from his body and placed him on medical therapy. Jones also wore a vest, known as a wearable cardioverter-defibrillator, that would shock his heart if the arrhythmia occurred.

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Jones was thrilled with his care, and knew he would be back to shining shoes and putting on his dancing ones. 

“I had the best doctors,” Jones says. “Everyone was so nice. Even though I was sick, they treated me like a human being.”

After one week, Jones returned to his shoe shine business at the Peppermill. He says dancing continues to help his heart.

“I feel like I’ve been rejuvenated,” Jones says. “It’s really a great feeling to feel this way — that you know you got a second chance at life.”