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Date Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Date Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2024

After a Heart Transplant This TV Chef Has a New Life Recipe

For actor, chef and former professional tennis player Lorenzo Beronilla, a series of seemingly minor health issues led to a life-threatening discovery—his heart was failing.

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Lorenzo Beronilla is an actor and former tennis player who gained recognition as a food influencer. 

His initial fame came as a regular on the widely popular, Epicurious YouTube "Four Levels of..." series, which has tens of millions of views. Lorenzo later competed - and won – an episode Bravo TV's Top Chef Amateurs series. 
Healthy and fit for almost all of his life, Beronilla began suffering from simmering fatigue coupled with minor breathing issues, assumed to be allergies or asthma, escalated over several weeks.

Beronilla with the staff that cared for him before and after his transplant
Beronilla with the staff that cared for him before and after his transplant

Then, after a business trip in February 2024, the Hudson Valley resident's health concerns boiled over when his abdomen became bloated, and his legs swollen. He didn’t know it at the time, but these were telltale signs of heart failure.

"I felt so sick that it became difficult to walk; I couldn't even bend at the knee," Beronilla recalled. 

After a visit to his primary care doctor, who expressed deep concern about his condition, Beronilla was admitted to WMCHealth’s HealthAlliance Hospital under the care of cardiologist Niki Kantrowitz, MD. Despite this, he expected to be discharged after undergoing some tests and receiving IV fluids.

Instead, he got devastating news: his heart was failing.

"I thought the doctor was going to say to make arrangements and enjoy what little time I had left," Beronilla shared. "But when the doctor said I was a good candidate for a transplant, it gave me hope."

Beronilla with Dr. Ohira
Beronilla with Dr. Ohira

Beronilla was transferred to WMCHealth’s Westchester Medical Center and was placed under the care of heart failure cardiologist Gregg Lanier, MD. At Westchester Medical Center, his care team implanted a balloon pump to help his faltering heart operate while he awaited a donor match. Beronilla tried to stay positive, buoyed by the experienced cardiac team's compassionate care.

"From day one, they made me feel like I was talking to family members," he said. "I really believed in them."

On March 29, 2024, just a few weeks after his diagnosis, Beronilla received the life-changing news that a suitable donor heart had become available. The next morning, the successful transplant surgery performed by Suguru Ohira, MD, gave him a new lease on life.

Beronilla credits the compassion and expertise of the medical staff at HealthAlliance Hospital and Westchester Medical Center for helping him navigate the emotional and physical toll of his illness.

While his recovery journey is just beginning, Beronilla is feeling better than expected. “Sometimes I forget I even had the operation,” he marveled, just six weeks after the procedure. 

Beronilla also feels profound gratitude for his second chance, for the skilled hands of his WMCHealth care team and for the support of loved ones and strangers alike.

"People I’ve never even met have reached out to share their transplant stories," he said through happy tears. "You don't know how you affect people."

Now, Beronilla is focused on paying that inspiration forward by raising awareness about heart health, creating healthy recipes and embracing every moment his new heart has given him.

To learn more about WMCHealth’s Transplant Center, visit our website here or call 914.493.1990.