Santino’s sup­port sys­tem

Montreal Times - - Profile -

When faced with any chal­lenge, a sup­port sys­tem is key to cop­ing, whether that sup­port is from a com­mu­nity of others strug­gling with the same dis­ease, or fam­ily. “I think hav­ing a sup­port­ive fam­ily has helped me stay pos­i­tive. On my tough­est days, it’s my fam­ily that keeps me go­ing,” he says. For ex­am­ple, his fa­ther at­tended ev­ery sin­gle doc­tor ap­point­ment in the first year af­ter Santino’s di­ag­noses. Pro­fes­sion­ally, his pho­tog­ra­phy com­mu­nity is ready to lend a hand. Santino also found a com­mu­nity of others di­ag­nosed with acromegaly, and re­cently shared his story at their 2017 Cana­dian Acromegaly Con­fer­ence in Van­cou­ver.

Santino turns to so­cial me­dia to en­cour­age others strug­gling to find a sim­i­lar sup­port sys­tem. His 30-sec­ond dance par­ties caught on—he’s re­ceived feed­back from others say­ing they dance it out now too. “It cheers them up. It’s not just about the dis­ease it­self, but cop­ing mech­a­nisms.” Santino rec­og­nizes the sil­ver lin­ing of his dis­ease in more than just his dance par­ties. “I’m not grate­ful that I have this dis­ease, but I am grate­ful for what it has taught me. It’s brought me to another level of liv­ing,” he says. “I’ve met in­cred­i­ble peo­ple on my jour­ney, and it’s helped me grow into the per­son that I am.” In the end, his ex­pe­ri­ence with Acromegaly has turned into a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. “I can’t be­lieve that some­thing so neg­a­tive brought me to a place that’s so pos­i­tive.” On top of con­tin­u­ing to suc­cess­fully run his pho­tog­ra­phy busi­ness, Santino re­cently took on the re­spon­si­bil­ity of join­ing the of­fi­cial Acromegaly Am­bas­sador Ini­tia­tive. At the Acromegaly Con­fer­ence in Septem­ber, he and five others were asked to lead the aware­ness move­ment in Canada. Stay tuned as their aware­ness ideas come to life be­fore next year’s Na­tional Acromegaly Aware­ness Day.

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