KENILWORTH, NJ – On April 30, Brian Belles, an Elizabeth resident, was driving when his heart stopped, sending him crashing into the woods until he was found by a Merck security guard, according to his daughter, Jennifer Belles.

The security guard who found Belles called the Kenilworth Police, who used their defibrillator twice while waiting for the paramedics, his daughter said. Once taken to the hospital, it was determined that Belles’ pacemaker had malfunctioned. He required six shocks and a second open-heart surgery to replace his pacemaker and add in a mechanical valve, Jennifer Belles said.

“He’s in severe pain from CPR, multiple shocks, heart surgery and multiple broken ribs,” Belles said. “But we’re just happy he’s alive.”

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Belles said that her father had open-heart surgery in November of 2016 to replace a heart valve, which resulted in a near-fatal infection and sent him into a coma. Once he was able to leave the hospital, he moved in with his daughter to recover. According to Jennifer, he went in for an echo test days before his accident, but the results that revealed his faulty heart valve weren’t available until after the accident.

“He has so many medical problems and he’s only 49-years-old,” Belles said. “But even through all of this, he still tries to be goofy.”

Belles is asking for donations to ease the costs of his most recent heart surgery and hospital stay. Her father has been given strict orders for bed rest and is disappointed he cannot work, Belles said.

“I'm a single mom of four, taking care of both of my disabled parents,” Belles wrote on her fundraising page. “Between our rent, the car, and all the costs associated with a long hospital stay, I just don't know how we will manage.”

According to Belles, her father was transferred to Deborah Hospital in Brown Mills, N.J. Although her car was not damaged in her father’s crash, the cost for a tow truck and to travel to and from the hospital is daunting, she said.

 “I'm so thankful for the fast actions of Kenilworth’s amazing police and rescue,” Belles said. “So many people told me to start a GoFundMe, even though I really hate to ask for help.”

For more information or to make a donation, go to https://www.gofundme.com/fundsforbriansmedical.