ALBANY, Ore -- Mark Dempsey seems no different than the next guy, but on the inside he is different. Doctors diagnosed Dempsey with congestive heart failure back in 2007.
"When I was diagnosed it was around 15 percent heart function," said Dempsey. "Last year it was down below 7 percent."
Doctors equipped Dempsey with a left ventricular assist device, or L-VAD for short. The mechanical pump supports the heart by helping with blood flow. If it, malfunctions Dempsey has a back up device.
"I have a matter of minutes before I have to get this connected or things go downhill real fast," he said.
That is what makes what happened early Sunday morning so upsetting. While Dempsey's car was parked in downtown Albany, somebody broke inside and stole his back up pump.
"This is one thing you can't, quite literally can't, live without," said Dempsey.
Aside from its ability to keep Dempsey alive, the back up pump is worth $15,000. Dempsey hopes whoever stole it can find it in their heart to return it to the nearest police station, fire department, or hospital.
"It's something that essentially keeps me alive and not having it is scary."