How did a pizza box save a New York man’s life?

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RONKONKOMA, New York - A pizza box has became the latest American hero.

Dennis Kust, 59, said that's exactly what happened to him. Kust said he lost his will to live after his wife Cheryl lost a long and painful battle with cancer.

Following his wife's death, Dennis received a free, donated pizza from his neighborhood pizzeria with a special message inside

.....Stay Strong.

"The last months of my wife's life she kept telling me you have to be strong, you have to be strong," Kust said.

An anonymous donor had left him the same message his dying wife had told him everyday.

"I wasn't crying because I was sad anymore," Dennis said. "I was crying because I felt like I got a message from her."

Turns out the pizzeria started a pay-it-forward program allowing customers to donate pizzas to police officers, single moms, and people in despair like Dennis.

Now he's returned to the little pizzeria to give thanks.

Dennis sent the owner of Albert's Pizza, Rich Baer, a letter that still moves both men to tears.

"'You don't know me but on March 25th you turned my life around,'" Rich read from the letter.

Rich still gets choked up by the special gift.

"When you do something nice, it works, you see somebody benefit," Baer said.

Nearly 75 customers have donated a pizza to the program now and Dennis is grateful that someone gave him the message that he needed.

"I wanted somehow to thank the people who actually bought it for me and let them know they saved my life," Kust said.