When Sal Cesarani lost his wife of 49 years to carcinoid cancer in February, it was as if the light that led his way through life was snuffed out. But instead of giving into the grief, the award-winning designer set out to raise awareness and research funds for the illness that took her life.
This story first appeared in the November 17, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“It got me motivated,” he said. “Everyone knows someone who is sick with cancer, but my Nancy got sick around Thanksgiving last year and, in two months, was totally consumed by it. We’ve got to stop this.”
So the designer created a unisex leather and chrome-plated bracelet that is being sold for $60 through his Web site, with all the proceeds going to the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation. The bracelet includes the initials N.M.C., which stand for No More Cancer, but also were his wife’s initials.
Cesarani produced a video about the project, also available for viewing on his site, cesarani.com. The video was written and co-produced with filmmaker Robert Ipcar and discusses how the research conducted for carcinoid enables doctors and scientists to uncover treatments for other, more common forms of cancer. “What are we going to do about it?” he asks on the video. “Some cancer research hasn’t been improved upon in years. Why do we allow this silent killer?”
“It’s pretty amazing to think that 7.6 million people die of cancer each year,” he said on the Web page. “Just out of nowhere, it came into our lives and stole my wife Nancy away. You don’t really know what those 7.6 million people and their loved ones are going through until it affects you personally. For me, a cure for cancer — and carcinoid, in particular — cannot come soon enough.”
Lauren Erb, executive director of Caring for Carcinoid, said the bracelet helps acknowledge the work the group is doing to discover a cure for neuroendocrine cancers. This type of cancer is what killed Apple chief Steve Jobs, she said, but most people believe it was pancreatic cancer.
Erb said there is “an exciting research program” on the disease being conducted at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and she expects Cesarani to “parlay that into another video.”
Nancy Marie Cesarani was 71 years old.