Since 2003 XTERRA has honored a member of its Tribe that has shown exemplary courage in the face of adversity, gone above and beyond to help the greater community, or personified the “Live More” spirit.
This year, at the Night of Champions dinner on Friday night at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua the honor went to Dave Desantis (No. 743) from Milton, Massachusetts.
In the summer of 2013, Desantis was diagnosed with stage 3C melanoma. He was told he had at most, a year to live. He tried every available remedy and medication over the next year, and finally his grapefruit sized tumors shrank – and miraculously, were gone just a few months short of the 2014 World Championship.
He raced at XTERRA Worlds in Maui last year with his niece Rachel, who was instrumental in his care and getting him ready to race.
“My favorite XTERRA memory was laying in the medical tent, receiving an IV, at last year’s Worlds and hearing the announcer say: Rachael Desantis is sprinting to the finish in her first XTERRA Worlds!”
In February this year, he traveled to the Philippines where he qualified to race in Maui. Then, in March, he found out the tumors were back and growing. He cancelled his trip to XTERRA Costa Rica and started chemotherapy. He lost 30lbs (13.6kilos) and the tumors were removed this summer – he now boasts over 300 stitches from various surgeries.
With no progression in the cancer since then, he has been building his strength and trying to gain weight. Sunday he’ll be with you all on the start line at D T Fleming beach celebrating life and his passion for the XTERRA family.
“Just trying to gain weight, get stronger and be INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL to be able to stick my toes in the surf at D.T. Fleming beach on morning of November 1st,” he said.