Shelton shoe store raises funds for Norwalk DJ awaiting double organ transplants

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SHELTON — A local shoe store has extended its campaign to help raise money for a beloved Norwalk disc jockey who is awaiting a heart and liver transplant, the store’s co-owner said.

Joseph Gradia, co-owner of Hawley Lane Shoes on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton, said his store was donating 20% ​​of its proceeds from last week to Jimmy Nuzzo, a Norwalk DJ waiting to receive the new organs at a Boston hospital. .

The charity was due to run from August 8-11, but the three store owners decided to extend it until Sunday to maximize profits, Gradia said. The total amount raised will not be known until then, he added.

Performing under the name DJ Jimmy Jams, Nuzzo, 62, is a popular figure around Norwalk, his wife Lisa Nuzzo said.

“He’s very connected to the community,” she said. “When people meet him, they gravitate towards him.”

Jimmy Nuzzo has performed at many local events, including Hawley’s, where he performed for free at one of the store’s fundraisers. Gradia said he wanted to return the favor.

“He always gave back to the community in one way or another,” Gradia said. “It’s our turn to help him.”

Lisa Nuzzo said she was “overwhelmed” by the support and prayers she received on behalf of her husband. She said he was recently admitted to a Boston hospital and could have the transplant at any time.

The waiting is the hardest part because it’s “something we have no control over,” she said.

Lisa Nuzzo said Jimmy Nuzzo was born with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot, which she described as a “leaky valve”. It affects normal blood flow in the heart, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 2,518 babies are born with tetralogy of Fallot each year in the United States.

“Back when my husband was born in 1959, they really didn’t know how to treat him or fix him,” she said. “There aren’t too many 62-year-old guys walking around with (this condition) who are still with us.”

Lisa Nuzzo said she and her husband knew getting a new heart was going to be inevitable, but the liver transplant – a side effect of her failing heart – surprised them.

Despite these challenges, Lisa Nuzzo said she knew he would persevere.

“The road to get there…is going to be extremely difficult, and I’m not just talking financially,” she added.

In addition to Hawley’s, other local businesses have held fundraisers to help Nuzzo and raise awareness of his plight. This financial boost allowed Lisa Nuzzo to accompany her husband to Boston.

“I needed to be here,” she said.

Gradia said people can help by buying an item from the store on Sunday or stopping by to donate. Hawley’s goal, he said, is to “raise as much money as possible to help ease some of this pain” for Jimmy Nuzzo and his family.

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