Victor Raposo, of Vineland, is just 40 years old, but myocarditis has robbed him of 70 percent of his heart function.

The former telecommunications coordinator for New York state, whose office was three blocks from the World Trade Center and who was there the morning the towers fell, went back to school to become a registered nurse.

In his first nursing job in 2008, he caught strep throat, and the bacteria moved to his heart, he said. He was diagnosed with myocarditis, a damaging inflammation of cardiac muscle. He cannot work, but must exercise regularly and maintain an optimal weight in preparation for a heart transplant.

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He and wife Monica, a home health aide, moved to Vineland to be closer to her family, with children Elpis,18; Victor, 12; Nathaniel, 11; and Raquel, 6.

With four children to raise, there was no extra money for a gym membership. But the family qualified for the “Y Cares” assistance program, and got a reduced-rate membership at the Vineland YMCA.

“It is so helpful, even for the quality time with the family there,” Raposo said of the membership. “Plus, it’s a must at this point just to survive.”

He swims, walks on the treadmill and rides a little on the stationary bike, he said. He has an internal pacemaker/defibrillator, and said he must be ready at any time to travel to Philadelphia, should a heart become available.

“I want to go back to work,” he said. “I want to be myself.”

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Teen in national pageant

Amanda Ross, 17, of Galloway Township, will be among 53 young women, ages 13 to 17, to compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition Aug. 14-18 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Ross, a junior at Gloucester County Institute of Technology Academy of Dance, is an honor student. She will perform a ballet variation en pointe for the talent competition, and chose autism awareness as a platform issue. For pageant information, visit

Absegami grad gets scholarship

Victoria Hillesheim, of Galloway Township, is one of 17 students nationwide to receive a 2012 Financial Services Roundtable Financial Literacy Scholarship of $5,000. She graduated this year from Absegami High School and will attend Saint Joseph’s University this fall.

TD Bank Retail Market Manager Jeff Dolan presented the award to Hillesheim on Monday at the bank’s Galloway location, on behalf of the Roundtable, which is made up of 100 financial services organizations.

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