On March 24, 2016, after a routine physical, Caesar was told his PSA (prostate specific antigen) was abnormally high, leading to more tests. The result? Highly aggressive prostate cancer. It was an enormous shock for the healthy restaurant owner.
“It’s terrible news when a doctor tells you that you have cancer. That’s as bad as it can get,” Caesar says. To make a challenging situation worse, Caesar was told that his only available treatment option was a radical procedure that would leave him with permanent damage and lifechanging side effects. Filled with despair, he went to Dana-Farber for a second opinion.
At his first appointment at Dana-Farber with Dr. Mark Pomerantz, Caesar found hope, something he didn’t think was possible.
“The doctor explained to me that there was another way, and I couldn’t believe it. I literally floated out of his office and called my family to share the good news,” he says. Dana-Farber offered a solution that would allow Caesar to live his life fully after treatment—an invitation to participate in a clinical trial.
It took only “a nanosecond” for Caesar to say yes. “I wasn’t scared to enroll in the trial because I trusted my doctors. I had wonderful interactions with the staff. Everyone was kind, they were gentle, caring—it felt like a family to me,” he remembers.
As a normally self-reliant person, Caesar worried about his support system while going through treatment. His family and friends were in Brazil, and he was single. “You cannot do it alone,” Caesar continues. “But once I started going to Dana-Farber, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. There was so much support there. The feeling of hopelessness disappeared.”
After undergoing nearly two years of treatment, Caesar received the best news of his life: He was now cancer-free. “It was like they gave me a new lease on life. I came out the other side, my old self; I could never have imagined this would be possible,” he shares. “Dana-Farber gave my life right back to me.”
He intended to go on living his life like he had before, but then something else changed. He met someone—Gil—and they fell in love.
Both travel lovers, Caesar proposed to Gil while visiting Manhattan in September 2019 and they married on October 8, 2020. They plan to resume traveling together again soon.
Today, Caesar works hard to give back to Dana-Farber any way he can: “I saw how everyone came together to participate in the Jimmy Fund events and raise money for cancer research and treatment. I didn’t understand the scope of it until I experienced cancer firsthand. It’s so important to participate and to contribute. What people do for the Jimmy Fund makes it possible for Dana-Farber to do what they did for me.”
You can help make new, cutting-edge treatment options possible for more patients like Caesar by donating to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund today. Your support will help create a cancer-free future, so more patients like Caesar can have their happy endings.