Taunton businessman raises funds for nonprofit while battling cancer

David DeSantis was swimming off the island of Maui competing in an XTERRA triathlon when he bumped into the stump of a fellow competitor.

“I came around the first buoy. A lot of times when you’re in the water you hit somebody, but you don’t know which body part it is,” DeSantis said.

That chance encounter led to his meeting and speaking with the other swimmer, a resident of Brazil who had lost his lower leg in a farming accident.

Jump to 2013, and the heretofore healthy DeSantis has been diagnosed with stage 3C melanoma cancer. His doctors give him a year to live.

DeSantis learned that the 30-something man was able to compete in the grueling, off-road triathlon thanks to two prosthetics specifically designed for athletes — one a blade for running and the other a prosthetic that attached to his upper leg and clipped into a bicycle pedal.

“I thought if he’s doing this race then [expletive], that’s really inspiring,” said DeSantis, owner and operator of the real estate development and management company First Taunton Group.

And it wasn’t just the fact that the man didn’t use any prosthetic for the third-of-a-mile swimming portion of the triathlon. DeSantis, who has been an XTERRA comptitor since 2009, says he also was impressed to learn that the specially built prosthetics had been provided by a San Diego-based non profit called Challenged Athletes Foundation.

CAF, he learned, since 1993 has been holding fundraising events to provide non-professional athletes of all ages — who either were born with a limb disability or who lost a limb due to accident or military service — with prosthetics, training, rehabilitation and sports competition.

Jump to 2013, and the heretofore healthy DeSantis has been diagnosed with stage 3C melanoma cancer. His doctors give him a year to live.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. The Smiling Pilgrim says:

    Good on him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Living #fromtheheart

      Like

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