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Retired Independence police officer survives heart scare, encourages healthy living

Dan Luciano has always been a healthy man. Then, a routine doctor's appointment changed everything.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — If you're looking for 62-year-old Dan Luciano, you can probably find him on his bike, riding around Northeast Ohio.

"As far as cycling goes, I have always done something to stay fit," Dan tells us. "Things start to hurt more when you get into your 40s and 50s, as far as running goes, so as I switched from running to cycling when I was in my early to mid-50s, I loved it."

That's why it was a total shock when Dan — an active father of eight — was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation last February.

"I had no indications at all," he said. "I've been healthy my whole life."

What's more, Dan had just retired from the Independence Police Department in 2021. Then, a routine checkup picked up on a heart murmur.

"If someone listens to your heart, that person will hear a murmur," Dan's cardiologist Dr. Marc Gillinov of Cleveland Clinic," explained. "The murmur is the sound the leak makes."

Dan would need lifesaving heart surgery. His children were terrified, because they had already lost their mother in 2012.

"My wife Lisa got cancer," Dan recalled. "It was a rare peritoneal cancer that she battled for five years, and then she passed away in 2012.

"I felt badly for my kids. They were scared to death."

Thankfully, his surgery was a success. Now, Dan spends his days with his family and his girlfriend, Karen. They keep him motivated.

"I have a lot of good reasons to stick around and just try to stay healthy," he says.

He has cycled all over the world — Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland. Prioritizing his health has also made him a better father and friend.

"There's absolutely no reason that you shouldn't be going to the doctor once a year," Dan said. "Anything that we do for ourselves isn't strictly for our benefit. That's the biggest part of the story, is that by taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, we're taking care of the ones that we love ... and everybody wants us around."

Just eight months after Dan's surgery, he completed a 100-mile ride for Cleveland Clinic's VeloSano. He says he plans to do it again next year, and coming up in June, he will be in Croatia with his daughter. He plans on bringing his bike.

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