78-year-old NC man holds new Guinness World Record

Bobby Brown (WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — What started out as a joke has ended up a new world record.

Bobby Brown had a double bypass surgery in the 70s and has now been listed as the “Longest Surviving Double Heart Bypass Patient,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Over a year’s period of time I had to send in some 20-something documents and witnesses and letters from doctors saying I was alive,” Brown said of the effort to try and make the case to Guinness.

Brown was diagnosed at an early age with coronary artery disease and required a double bypass surgery at 37 years old.

“I didn’t know enough back then to be scared,” Brown said.

In the 70s and early 80s bypass surgery was almost an experimental surgery with a high mortality rate, according to Dr. Michael Tamberella of CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia.

Dr. Tamberella says Brown has been a model patient.

“He does everything we ask him to as a patient,” he said.

Brown says he isn’t seeking the spotlight with the title, he only wants other heart patients to see that there is hope.

“They can look at me and see there is life after a major heart surgery,” Brown said.

He now volunteers with a program called Mended Hearts, where he meets with patients who have undergone or will be having major heart surgery.

Brown often compares his health situation to his 1930 Model A Ford.

“It had been sitting up for 14 years when I got it, so it needed some major surgery,” he said.

Just like the car, Brown had his surgery and is running just fine now.

“Every now and then you have to put a little oil in it or tighten the screws, but it runs just fine,” Brown said.

His message of hope extends beyond competitive lines. As for the world record title, Brown says nothing would thrill him more than to have someone else take it away.

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