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Blake Lively's dad makes medical history with stem cell surgery

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Nov 26, 2013 | 6:01pm EST

Actress Blake Lively's father has become the first known patient to undergo genetic therapy to heal his broken heart. Actor Ernie Lively has battled health problems since suffering a massive heart attack in 2003, but thanks to a groundbreaking medical procedure he is now feeling better than ever. The 66 year old tells People magazine only half of his heart has been functioning properly in recent years, sapping him of energy and making it a real task just to walk up a flight of stairs. On 7 November (13), the father-of-four underwent retrograde gene therapy, in which a patient's stem cells are injected into the heart to repair damaged muscle and arteries, and he's already beginning to notice a health boost. He says, "I woke up the other morning and told my wife, 'I haven't felt this good in years'." And Ernie is now making big plans for the rest of his life, adding, "I moved to Utah because of the snow, but I haven't been able to ski. I literally didn't have the heart to do it. Now, I'm excited about living the rest of my life instead of sitting around." And he can't wait for his youngest daughter Blake to start a family, adding, "She is newly married (to actor Ryan Reynolds) and wants a big family. She says she wants 30 kids. I said, 'Why don't you start with one?'"

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