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Santiago Lange

Santiago Lange:

Early detection - it’s a winner

Yachtsman Santiago Lange made headlines across the world earlier this year at the Rio
Olympics, when he and his sailing partner, Cecilia Carranza Saroli, clinched the gold medal
in the Nacra 17 mixed class – by just one point.

Not a bad effort for a 54-year-old man who had part of his left lung removed just 11 months
earlier, making him the first Olympian to win gold after surviving lung cancer.

Four-times World Champion, Santi first competed in the Olympics in 1988. He took bronze in the Tornado class at both
the 2004 and 2008 Games.The 2016 Games were his sixth and, finally, he achieved his golden dream.

Santi took time out from his globetrotting                   “Just five days after the operation I was home and         ©Sailing Energy/World Sailing
schedule to speak to Inspire from Argentina                  walking up to five kilometres, and then I started cycling
about his victory:                                           too.Within a month, I was back sailing.Amazing.”

“We [Argentina] don’t tend to win as many medals as          Inspire just had to ask THE question – so,
Great Britain, so for us, it has been a very big story; not  what was it like winning the gold medal?
just because of my cancer but probably also because of       “It was, of course, a dream come true.The two bronze
my age, and, of course, because I was with my sons.          medals were wonderful, but I always wanted to hear my
                                                             national anthem and see our flag raised to the highest
“It was all quite emotional. I feel I am receiving a lot of  position – and now that has happened!
love from everyone – and especially from people who          “There are a lot of messages we can take from this
have gone through the same illness or who are going          – not just for those of us with lung cancer, but for
through it now.                                              everyone - to keep pushing to achieve your dreams, to
                                                             keep working with determination.”
“I am a privileged man, to know that life is giving me this  And what does the immediate future hold?
opportunity to help people, maybe just by bringing a smile   “My main focus now is on finding ways to spread the
to someone’s face, or helping to inspire someone – I am      word about lung cancer, to help alert people to its signs
really happy about that and enjoying it a lot.”              and symptoms. I really want to put my energy into that.
                                                             I hope that what we have achieved with our team will
Santi went on to explain how his lung cancer                 be of some help to everyone touched by lung cancer.”
was first diagnosed:

“I was lucky – my cancer was found early. There was
a nodule in the middle of the lung, really close to the
bronchial tube, so they couldn’t take tissue samples. For
me, the most frightening thing was that, to confirm the
diagnosis, the doctors needed to take out part of the lung.
That was something I had to get used to.

“The doctors were recommending that I should have
surgery; it took me six months to come to terms with
that. I had surgery in Spain, with really good doctors. It
was confirmed that it was lung cancer, so it was a good
decision! Medicine today is incredible.

4 Inspire 2016
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