Violin prodigy, sickle cell disease survivor
His story: On August 1 Caesar Sant celebrated his 14th birthday, surrounded by his mom, dad, two sisters, and a few friends in his parent’s backyard in Memphis, Tennessee. He had his favorite foods, including barbeque and cake, and lots of gifts. One would never have guessed, judging by the normalcy of it all, that Caesar’s young life had taken such extraordinary – and life-changing – turns. He’s already an accomplished violinist – a prodigy who began honing his skills when he was just 2. He’s published a classical music album (“Heavenly Doors”) and is working on a second one. He speaks seven languages, including Hebrew, Russian, and German. Passionate about life, Caesar said he’s always wanted to make a mark in the world. But those dreams almost ended in 2014, when, at the age of 6 years, he experienced a devastating stroke as a result of sickle cell disease that left him unable to speak and walk, let alone play the violin. Then in 2021, Caesar underwent a successful bone marrow transplant at the National Institutes of Health. It was, he said, transformative. He’s still getting back his strength in his legs – “I’m really working hard at walking and building up my muscles,” Caesar said – but he’s feeling stronger, happier, and more passionate about his music than ever.
Motivation: “I believe in myself. And I believe in God, too. And I believe my family will help me.” Caesar said he is especially thankful to his sister Helen, now age 7, who provided the bone marrow for his transplant. His other sister, Maria, age 12, also has sickle cell disease and is hoping to get a bone marrow transplant in the future.
His dream for the future: “I would like to be both a virtuoso violinist and a composer.” He is planning to audition for acceptance into a prestigious music school in Philadelphia. A classical musical enthusiast, he’s already starting to write some of his own classical songs.
His champion: “I like superheroes, and my favorite one is my father. That’s because he saved my life so many times. He helped me walk when I got sick. He took me to the NIH Clinical Center for treatment for my sickle cell disease.”
Transplant anniversary plans: “My father will send out invitations to everyone who is vaccinated, and they will come and have a great time. My father will do a really good barbeque and my mom’s going to do a good cake. We’re going to have a big, big celebration. And I’m going to play my violin.”