How God Used Cancer to Save One Man’s Life
By Vinny Funaro
Christians who have been walking with the Lord for many years understand that sometimes God uses to the most unlikely situations and circumstances to bestow a blessing upon His people. Since its inception, the church has thrived under intense persecution, and God has used heinous acts such as the beheading of Christians to further the Gospel and bring glory to his name. God used cancer, one of the deadliest diseases known to man to fully restore one believer’s health in a way that he never expected. This man, Pete Pizzuti, a Brooklyn, New York native who recently moved to Staten Island experienced God’s turning bad circumstances into blessings in a major way.
Pete prayed that cancer would never come to him, but God answered his prayer by using the very thing he thought would be his demise. However, to understand how Pizzuti got to the point where cancer would actually help him you’d have to know his whole story and how God fit him into his grand plan to reconcile all men to Himself.
Pizzuti grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and was raised Roman Catholic. He always had a belief in God, but claims to have not known him fully until later years. Growing up around criminals and troublemakers, Pizzuti developed an appetite for drugs and alcohol and already had plenty of run ins with the law. By the age of 17 after he was arrested for the possession of narcotics. After seeing what his life had become at a young age in Sunset Park, Pizzuti knew he had to leave that neighborhood and he joined the Marines.
“While I was still living that kind of life my relationship with God was like this; I just did whatever I wanted. Whenever I was in trouble I always asked God to help me and as soon as everything went well I was back to my old self,” said Pizzuti.
Pizzuti miraculously survived a tour in Vietnam after an incident where his unit came under enemy machine gun fire. Their chopper was hit and his unit had to evacuate it. After narrowly escaping a chopper crash they were pinned under enemy fire until the rescue helicopter arrived. During the melee, his unit ran to a rescue chopper Pizzuti ended up tripping due to his heavy backpack and was almost left behind until his squad leader got back off and hoisted him up onto the rescue chopper. But even after that experience, Pete still did not realize how God was preserving his life.
“At that time I didn’t know my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. But what I have come to realize is He knew me. He had a plan for me and that day he snatched me from the jaws of physical death,” said Pizzuti. When Pizzuti returned from war he went back to his old ways which included sex, drugs, crime and alcohol. He owned his own private sanitation company and continued on a self-destructive path hanging around the wrong kinds of people and living as if God didn’t exist. Pizzuti had also been self-medicating for years treating what he later found out to be post traumatic stress disorder with alcohol and methadone which he was hooked on for 12 years.
“I don’t want to glorify sin. But what I will tell you is this. The consequences of my sinful life were this. I lost my wife. I disrupted all my children’s childhood. I lost my house, my business and health. I eventually developed hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and many side effects that go with it,” said Pizzuti. His business folded in the late 1990s and by 2006 Pizzuti had been diagnosed with hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver. After the cirrhosis diagnosis Pizzuti quit drinking and even started going back to church. He also started a job driving buses in 1994.
He was on medication for the hepatitis C and in 2007 he met a co-worker named Shiva who was a Christian woman that spoke into his life by condemning the sinful behavior of their co-workers. Pizzuti was thrown off by her comments, but was intrigued when she asked him if he had ever read the Bible. His answer to her was unlike anything he would have said in the past.
“I said which one? I was in the midst of this treatment and I knew I needed God. She told me the New King James Bible. I went crazy looking for it and when I started reading it I went crazy,” he said. Pizzuti felt like he “needed” to read the Bible while suffering with his diseases. The Bible paired with his listening of Christian radio allowed him to hear the pure Gospel. Pizzuti realized that he could be saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He accepted Jesus, but his trials were far from over at that point.
The hepatitis C treatment he was receiving was not working and the only way to rid his body of the cirrhosis was by giving him a liver transplant. At this point, Pizzuti was also told that he could develop liver cancer from what was happening in his body. He prayed to God for this not to happen, but to his surprise God had a different plan that deviated from what he was asking, and this plan would actually save Pizzuti’s life. He developed liver cancer, but the disease which seemed fatal to him at the time actually helped him get exactly what he needed.
“This was a lesson to me. God is faithful to hear and then answer according to his will all the prayers that are prayed to him in Jesus name by all believers. My will was that I didn’t want cancer, but in Feb. 2010 I was told you have cancer now you need a liver transplant,” said Pizzuti.
Pizzuti had learned that liver transplants were extremely hard to come by and in order to get one you need a high enough MELD score which is the measurement used in the medical field to determine a score to quantify end-stage liver disease for transplant planning. The cancer had elevated Pizzuti’s MELD score to the level it needed to be for him to get a new liver and God used cancer to finally rid his body of both the cancer and the cirrhosis that had been plaguing him for years. (God cured a tumor before his transplant) “It was the very cancer that I prayed not to get that allowed me to get a liver transplant. So what I could tell you is I prayed Father if it be your will please Lord deliver me from these things let me be a testimony to you if it is your will and I can say that I stand before you now hepatitis C, cirrhosis and cancer free,” he said.
Pizzuti received the liver transplant and his body adjusted perfectly to the new organ. God used cancer to kill two of his diseases and Pizzuti’s mind was blown. However, he still had hepatitis C. Fortunately for Pizzuti, he participated in some experimental treatments for hepatitis C that were deemed fatal and dangerous by doctors, but happened to actually cure him of that disease as well. He finally gained a clean bill of health after enduring scary circumstances that might of broken him completely if he didn’t know the Lord.
After these experiences that were nothing short of miracles, Pizzuti not only knew that God was real, but that he had a plan for him and wanted to use his testimony to further the Gospel. At this point he was part of God’s story and there was no more escaping it.
“I just want to let people know that this is real. I want to spread the good news. I just want to give Him the glory and praise. This is what my life is. I want to serve him,” he said. Pizzuti’s life completely turned around. He left the Roman Catholic church for a more bible-based pentecostal church where he could live out his faith in a way that was truer to scripture. His relationships with his children have improved and he married a Christian woman who has helped him to further his faith journey.
Pizzuti has now dedicated his life to telling people what God has done for him. He never misses an opportunity to preach the Gospel and directly after this interview he walked outside the coffee shop and began ministering to a homeless man.