My relationship with cancer began a long time ago. More than twenty years back, I faced a rare and serious cancer called chondrosarcoma. It was the beginning of a complex journey, which involved ups and downs that were sometimes hard to explain, and marked at each step by a growing desire to find ways to change the course of disease.
At the start of the journey, during two months of intensive treatment in Houston, in the U.S., I witnessed many struggles — people from around the world who came to fight for their health. Many did not survive. Fortunately, my story had a different ending, and I managed to resume a normal life.
Several years after my treatment was completed, I had another experience which was infinitely harder. My oldest son, who was then 9 years old, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor of childhood. Although rare, medulloblastoma still affects about 10 thousand children around the world every year. And, in situations of relapse — characterizing recurrent medulloblastoma, which was the case of my son — survival is below 5%, and there simply is no standard treatment available.
Thanks to my financial situation and the support of my family, we were able to seek treatment in world-class health centers — where I met one of the greatest world authorities in neurological disorders of children, Dr. Roger Packer. Following his lead, my son was able to join several trials for the treatment of recurrent medulloblastoma. We are having access to the best available resources, even though they are experimental.
Along this journey, the distress I felt when thinking about the suffering of many kids gave me the impetus for one of the most important decisions in my life: to focus my energy on the fight against this childhood cancer.This decision materialized in 2021 with the establishment of The Medulloblastoma Initiative, a project conceived jointly with Dr. Packer and his team. The Initiative brings together some of the best scientists and health institutions in the world, harnessing the necessary power to finally understand the disease. Our purpose is straightforward: accelerating the development of a protocol of cure that will save the lives of thousands of children around the world.
A historic achievement of such magnitude would not be possible without the engagement of as many great partners as possible. The research has already begun, kick-started by the contribution made by my own family. Now we are spreading the word about the project to allow more people to join us in finding a cure for this childhood medulloblastoma.
I invite all of you to learn more about this project, and to engage in this unique effort to restore hope and save the lives of thousands of children around the world.
After all, as the Talmud says — “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
Founder, The Medulloblastoma Initiative
Member of the Board of Directors, Cyrela Brazil Realty
MBA, Fundação Dom Cabral
MBA, MIT Sloan School of Management