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090: Amanda DeJesus is the Chef With A Heart (Transplant)

Uninvisible Pod

090: Amanda DeJesus is the Chef With A Heart (Transplant)

Amanda DeJesus was the recipient of a heart transplant at the age of 15. Inspired by her need to eat heart-healthy, she developed a passion for cooking and trained as…
September 2, 2020
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090: Amanda DeJesus is the Chef With A Heart (Transplant)

Amanda DeJesus was the recipient of a heart transplant at the age of 15. Inspired by her need to eat heart-healthy, she developed a passion for cooking and trained as a chef, graduating from the Art Institute of Houston in Texas. With her friend and stroke survivor Kelly Fucheck, she is co-host of the podcast Unfiltered Survivors. In 2017, Amanda served as a spokeswomen for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign; she continues to volunteer with the AHA, and is also affiliated with Donate Life America and Lyfebulb. As a chef, she continues to serve clients seeking to find heart-healthy alternatives to their favorite dishes, assisting patients who are undergoing lifestyle changes and providing support and education — from shopping to cooking lessons. She is currently on the list for a second heart and kidney transplant, so tune in and join us in wishing her luck!

Tune in as Amanda shares:

  • that Amanda’s sister was also born with a heart defect — which was repaired when she was a baby
  • that Amanda had her first open-heart surgery at 7 days old
  • that at 12 years old, her doctors discovered she had dilated cardiomyopathy — and gave her a pacemaker
  • that her heart was failing by age 13, and she had her transplant at 15
  • that most heart transplants last a decade — and Amanda’s has now lasted well beyond expectation
  • that she needs a kidney transplant along with her heart — and the kidney transplant is necessary because of long-term use of anti-rejection drugs
  • that she’s currently doing dialysis 3 days a week
  • that heart attacks have traditionally been regarded as a “white man’s disease” — and that only recently has research shown symptoms to present differently in women
  • her experiences of discrimination in the medical system
  • that the privatization of healthcare has threatened her family’s stability on numerous occasions
  • the importance of bridging the gap between pediatric and adult healthcare
  • that she lost friends who were lost in the system during the transition to adult care
  • the problems with the US healthcare system, and how it’s linked so closely to education and access to healthy food
  • how understanding her own mortality has made her bold and live life without regrets
  • the importance of mental health support when living with chronic illness
  • how joining her community and speaking about her struggles has given her strength
  • that she’s had to learn that spontaneity is OK
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