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Patient Stories

Charles Leveroni (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor)

Imagine coming to work one morning and discovering that all of your colleagues had shaved their heads the night before. Now imagine that scene playing out in one of the most prestigious financial firms in the world—a place where conservative dress and hairstyles are the order of the day. In April of 2005, that's exactly what happened to Charles Leveroni, a 44-year-old senior vice president at Lehman Brothers in Boston.

Four months earlier, Leveroni began suffering from back pain similar to the kind he had felt prior to undergoing back surgery in 1991. He scheduled a visit with NSMC orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Lovejoy, who had treated him for various back and shoulder problems since 1997. Certain that his doctor would quickly diagnose another back ailment, Leveroni was shocked to learn that tests revealed a tennis ball-sized mass on his pelvis. Further tests performed by NSMC oncologist Dr. Ronald Weinger showed that the mass was malignant and that Leveroni had two types of cancer: high grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in his blood and low grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in his bone marrow.

Leveroni began chemotherapy at NSMC's Cancer Center shortly after receiving his diagnosis, and "within two days the pain [in my back] was completely gone," he said. Leveroni had very little nausea during the chemotherapy, but he did lose some skin pigment and his hair fell out—all common side effects. It was at this time that his colleagues at Lehman shaved their heads as a show of support. To this day, Leveroni remains moved by his co-workers' actions, explaining, "In this business, a lot of people are out for themselves. But we've got a good team here and a lot of camaraderie." Leveroni also speaks in superlatives about the care he received at the NSMC Cancer Center.

UPDATE:   Inspired and grateful for the care he received, Leveroni has given back to the Cancer Center in a big way. In the last four years he has participated in the NSMC Cancer WALK with his family, and estimates that he has raised over $130,000 for the cause. Leveroni is also a member of NSMC's Development Board and has co-chaired the NSMC Golf Classic in Ipswich for the past two years.