Heart patient feeds the surgeon who saved his life


OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) — They’re serving up their classic mac and cheese.

“Plus they get a little treat they don’t know, a little brownie,” Tammy Cowart said with a chuckle.

Jay Cowart and his wife Tammy are the owners of the “Sweet Baby Cheeses” food truck. They stopped by AdventHealth Ocala on Thursday to give back to cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jim Lonquist and his team. The group of nurses and doctors saved Jay’s life after he went to the hospital with chest pains.

After moving from Tampa to Citra for a quieter life, the couple first started a farm with chickens, pigs and other smaller animals. They quickly wanted to bring their harvest to the community and decided to invest in the food truck business. Sweet Baby Cheeses has been in business for about six years now.

“We love cooking and preparing the food more, and bringing it out and serving it to the public,” Jay said.

But that all nearly came to an end for this short-lived cook.

He went to do a stress test on his heart. Dr Lonquist said they needed to find several “critical blockages in the arteries supplying the heart muscle”. If left untreated, Jay could have had a heart attack.

“He needed coronary bypass surgery which involves redirecting blood flow,” Lonquist explained. “We consider this to be major open-heart surgery.”

Safe is the word Jay used to describe his time with Lonquist. Now that he’s finally back on his feet and back to doing what he loves, he wanted to repay his surgeon the best way he knew how.

“Being able to serve people who have actually taken care of us really means a lot,” he said.

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