Nelson Ambrogio had always looked up to his older brother, Daniel. He has many positive memories of growing up with him. They both shared a passion for soccer, and Nelson remembers that they would often play together or go watch games. While they ended up living far away from one another as adults, Nelson and Daniel still retained a strong connection. Unfortunately, things changed drastically four years ago when Daniel was suddenly diagnosed with a rare cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.
It was a late diagnosis, and Daniel would not survive for long. At the time, Nelson lived in Australia, and while he tried to travel as soon as he could in order to see Daniel one last time, he was never able to tell his brother goodbye in person.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a form of cancer that affects the bile ducts. More specifically, the epithelial cells of the bile duct are the ones affected by this disease. The cause is not directly known; many patients who develop the disease also have no known risk factors, but there are some factors that are known to increase risk, such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis, certain genetic disorders such as Caroli’s syndrome, infection with Helicobacter bacteria, and certain liver flukes, a type of parasitic animal that infiltrates the bile ducts and feeds on bile. Symptoms include fever, weight loss, jaundice, itching, and abdominal pain. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or liver transplant. Transplant is usually only useful if the disease is detected early; surgery is the best chance for curing cholangiocarcinoma. This disease is rapidly lethal if surgical removal is not possible. To learn more about cholangiocarcinoma, click here.
This form of cancer is rare and often does not cause symptoms in its early stages. This means that many patients face a similar circumstance as Daniel, in which the disease is not detected until it has reached an advanced stage and cannot be treated effectively. In memory of his brother and in order to spread awareness about rare cancer, Nelson is running in the Boston Marathon:
“I’m not a naturally talented runner, but I’ve put a lot of discipline and effort in it. I’ve been running for quite some time now. This will be my third marathon…I am very proud to be part of the TargetCancer Foundation team for the Boston Marathon this year.”
Nelson is fundraising for the TargetCancer Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of rare cancer patients and backing critical scientific research. With a goal of raising $7,500, Nelson’s campaign has already surpassed its goal. Nelson has had a passion for medicine from an early age and also is involved in oncology as part of his career, and the company he works with has a good relationship with the TargetCancer Foundation.
“When my brother was diagnosed, it was devastating. It was difficult to find information and clarity around what the options were…the more information you have, the more empowered you can be.”
Daniel’s son, along with his children, will be in attendance at the race cheering Nelson on. If you want to support Nelson’s campaign, click here.