Cardiac Rehabilitation Helps a Musician Return to His Passion

Newswise — Montclair, NJ – (March 20, 2023) – On a September day in 2020, Charles Dixon experienced a heart attack and was brought to the Mountainside Medical Center Emergency Department. Following his discharge from the hospital, Charles and his doctors developed a care plan for his condition, which included lifestyle changes, medication, and cardiac rehabilitation with Mountainside’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

A gifted saxophone player, Charles feared that his new condition would inhibit his ability to play his instrument. Prior to starting cardiac rehabilitation, Charles asked his doctor, “Doctor, is this my portion in life? Will I always have trouble breathing?” to which his doctor replied, that with time and putting in the necessary work, his breathing will improve, and he can be even better than he was before. 

In November 2020 Charles began cardiac rehabilitation with a goal in mind – to get back to playing his saxophone. Charles shared, “The entire Cardiac Rehab team was gracious and wonderful. My healing took place with all hands-on deck.” He completed his program in February 2021 and today, he is back to playing his saxophone and feeling better than ever. 

On Valentine’s Day, Charles and his fiancé, Ember Levine, visited the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department, where he performed on his saxophone for team members and current patients. He enjoys sharing his journey with current patients, so they know that they, too, can get healthy and live their lives at a greater capacity.

“When Charles first came to us, he had difficulties walking from the entrance to the Cardiac Fitness Center. While he was in the program, he increased his exercise, started eating healthier, and had an amazingly positive attitude,” said says Diane DePadova, clinical supervisor of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. “When he completed his 36 sessions, he danced his way down the hallway!  He is an inspiration to our patients and our team members.”

“I’m feeling really blessed these days,” Charles says, “I’ve been given a second chance and life, with my future wife, and we are writing a new chapter in our lives.”

To learn more about Mountainside Medical Center’s Cardiology program, including cardiac rehabilitation, visit


About Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center has been serving Montclair and its surrounding New Jersey communities since 1891. The hospital provides patients access to innovative and effective treatment in specialized centers within the hospital focused on radiology, women’s health, oncology, surgery, bariatrics, neurosciences, stroke, and cardiovascular services. Mountainside is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and The NJ State Department of Health and Senior Services and is one of only a few community hospitals licensed by the State to perform emergency cardiac angioplasty and emergency neuroendovascular procedures. To learn more about Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center visit




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