SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Growing up Srdan Lukic had far from a normal lifestyle. From Serbia, Srdan was born with a congenital heart defect which resulted in multiple open-heart surgeries. In search of a doctor to save his life, at the age of four Srdan and his family moved to Syracuse. Reluctantly, Upstate Medical Hospital performed another surgery on his heart, which ended up saving his life.
Due to his heart deficiency, Srdan needed to constantly monitor his heart rate. This meant no sports and no physical exertion. While attending Syracuse University, Srdan become depressed and overweight. He knew he needed to take a risk in order to lose weight and gain confidence.
Going against doctor’s orders, Srdan decided to work out by joining a boxing gym. Within months he began to notice his blood pressure lowering, his heart rate decreasing, and his body composition improving.
Srdan found an instant passion for boxing and he went on to win multiple boxing tournaments, three golden glove titles, and even went on to represent the United States in International competition.
It was not just the sport of boxing that Srdan fell in love with, but also the fitness aspect of it. Fitness and his passion for maintaining a healthy heart is what influenced him to want to give back to the Syracuse community for all that they did for him.
Srdan went on to create Fight For Hearts, a non-profit organization that focuses on improving our community’s heart health. Just like what it did for him, Srdan wanted to inspire others to enjoy fitness and the results it can show on both your physical and mental health.
“The reason I started Fight for Hearts is because I have seen what fitness did for me. Even though I was a competitive athlete, putting that aside, just the workouts and being fit, I had a better quality of life.”
When the pandemic started, it meant the end of in person workouts for Fight For Hearts. Yet this did not stop Srdan and his organization from helping others. His team created virtual workouts for Syracuse’s youth that they could do from the comfort of their own homes.
Shane Manely, one of Fight For Hearts fitness trainers, boxed with Srdan and was inspired by his journey. Shane knew the importance of staying in shape and wanted to be able to give back to the Syracuse community.
“If it’s just helping out one person. Even when we do the group fitness exercise, maybe not everyone is soaking it up, if it’s just one person for me, one person is just enough.”
With another open-heart surgery scheduled in the coming month, Srdan refuses to let his heart deficiency bring his down. If Srdan can overcome multiple surgeries and still find a passion for fitness, then so can we.