Lucas immigrated with his family to Canada from Brazil in 2008 in search of a better life. Then when he finally felt like he was settling in, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer.
As a native Brazilian, soccer was core to Lucas' identity. He played soccer while growing up in Brazil and then played competitively in Canada. Like many of his teammates, Lucas dreamed of one-day playing professional soccer. But quickly, these dreams faded after he was diagnosed with cancer.
It all started when Lucas was playing soccer one day, as usual. Suddenly, he became cross-eyed when someone passed the ball - he saw one ball coming on the left, one down the middle and one on the right, but he didn't know which one was the right ball. Initially, he thought it was just his contact lenses. He took a break, and eventually, his eyes returned to normal. He continued to play. But, the issue continued for months, and it became increasingly apparent that his contact lenses were not the problem.
On May 24th, 2015, Lucas played his last soccer game. It was the semi-finals. Lucas's eyes went cross-eyed, but they did not return to normal this time. Lucas took a tissue and taped it over one of his eyes. He was not going to give up.
Lucas knew that the source of the problem was not his lenses. He visited a doctor and was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumour. Shortly after, he had a biopsy to determine if his tumour was cancerous. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumour on the cerebellum - the back part of your brain.
Following his diagnosis, Lucas started chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He finished his treatment on April 6th, 2016 and has been cancer-free for about 6-years.
Since being diagnosed with cancer, Lucas has had to abandon all his soccer dreams. But still, he has found ways to remain involved in the soccer community, namely as a team manager.
After finishing high school, Lucas pursued a degree in Kinesiology at the University of Toronto. While at UofT, he was the student manager of the Men's soccer team. He loved being part of the team despite no longer being able to play.
This past Spring, Lucas graduated from UofT. He spent the summer working at SickKids in cancer research. He is taking the year off to figure out what he wants to pursue. Currently, he is considering a career in physiotherapy, teaching or even cancer research.
Cancer has been a considerable part of Lucas' life. He remains devoted to helping cancer patients and furthering cancer research in whatever way he can. The Good Hood Club is honoured to have Lucas as part of our Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Campaign, continuing to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.