June 26, 2014

One man's journey...and my pledge to No Kid Hungry...

Hello My friends,

Been a long time since I wrote regularly here at Kitchen Rap, but that is about to change. For those who may not know or be aware, on May 19th, 2014, I suffered a massive heart attack, went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated back to life. Yea I know right? Pretty scary. Pretty severe. As per my usual life and the way it has been for the past 50 years, I seem to do things on a grand scale. The doctors are actually baffled...they say I shouldn't be alive.

You see, seems after suffering a 4 hour heart attack that would have killed anyone else permanently, I am still here, defying the norm, the rules and the odds. For those who have known me for any length of time, this will not come as a surprise. I never, EVER do what's expected. Here, I suffered a major, 100% blockage in my heart in the worst possible place it could occur, a place I now know is called (cue music:.Duhn Duhn Duhhhhh!!) THE WIDOWMAKER (echo here) maker maker, maker maker... the left anterior descending artery.

What baffles the doctors is that they have rarely, if ever, seen someone survive this much damage to the heart, over 70%, in this location. Until now.

The doctors did surgery, placing a stent into my heart, unblocking the flow and I spent 5 days in Intensive Care. I now take 8 pills a day from blood thinners to anti angina medication to, well you name the heart medication, seems I'm taking it. The doctors words, "if you don't take your meds you will die" ring in my ears every glorious morning I wake up. They told me no stress. Bed rest and eventually sent me home to do nothing and recuperate.

So what did I do? Yup, you are starting to get me...I did the complete opposite. Just days out of the hospital, I helped coordinate and lead (via Support Vehicle) a group of cyclists from the NYC to DC for the #ChefsRide4NKH, a 3 day, 300 mile bicycle ride, with lead rider Chef Jason Roberts and helped raise $23,000 to help in the fight against childhood hunger. I then promptly had another episode of angina and went back to the hospital where they did another angioplasty and found more damage and blockages. This time the doctor said, "I don't think you're getting this Mr. Luzzo, you have 30% heart function as compared to the normal heart. You need complete rest and relaxation and it will take years to heal, if ever. I can't explain why you're still alive, but you need to take this seriously if you want to STAY ALIVE!'

I had been spending days, actually, taking this very seriously and thinking about my life and this supposed 'second chance'; the special things I have done and accomplished, the public awareness of me, the special chefs and celebrities I know, some of whom I am blessed to call friend. I wondered, "Why did I survive? Why Am I alive?" And I knew  the answer immediately . So, when the Doc made that statement above, I answered without hesitation. "I'm still here because of two people: Deb and Billy Shore, founders of Share Our Strength and a special organization they run called No Kid Hungry. I believe that I'm am supposed to help be a voice for this cause here in America and that's why I'm alive."

For those not aware, this year over 45 million people in America will be food deficient at some point and over 16 million of those who are going hungry are children. With their Cooking Matters, School BreakfastDine OutTaste of the NationBake SaleNo Kid Hungry This Summer programs and proper nutrition initiatives, No Kid Hungry is committed to making sure that our children get the food they need to grow, be healthy and lead productive lives.

So my friends, let's get to the important part of this blog post. I recently took the No Kid Hungry Pledge and have committed to being a part of the No Kid Hungry Team! I also committed to being a No Kid Hungry Blogger, doing what I can to be a beacon, a voice, helping to get the message out. I am asking you all, especially during this current pledge drive to do the same.

If you are a blogger, writer or journalist who has a public voice I am asking you to use your voice and join me and this worthwhile organization and help us eradicate childhood hunger in our lifetime. To find out how to become a No Kid Hungry Blogger, just go to this link; BECOME A NO KID HUNGRY BLOGGER, answer a few questions and get the details on how you can help.

For the rest of you , I am asking you to step up with me, take the No Kid Hungry Pledge, join the fight against childhood hunger and do whatever it is you can to help. Whether you simply donate, or hold a bake sale, or have a barbecue, is no matter. What does matter is that you do something, because together, we can make sure that we leave No Kid Hungry!

All the best and thank you,


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