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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Teen Returns to Clinical Center to Play Thanksgiving Concert

Sant, smiling widely, stands holding bow, with violin tucked under his arm.

A grateful Caesar Sant plays violin at the Clinical Center.

Photo: Dana Talesnik

Collins plays guitar and Sant plays violin in front of blue NIH Clinical Center backdrop in the atrium.

Sant performs with former NIH DIrector Dr. Francis Collins.

Photo: Dana Talesnik

Caesar Sant, age 14, can say thank you in many languages, but his preferred language is music. 

Sant expressed his gratitude by performing on Nov. 21 in the Clinical Center atrium, at times accompanied by former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on guitar and Robert Masi, an NCI postbac fellow, on piano. 

Sant returned to NIH in mid-November for his one-year checkup, following up on his bone marrow transplant last fall to treat sickle cell anemia. 

Since the transplant, thanks to marrow donated by his younger sister Helen, Caesar’s body is now making its own healthy blood cells. After years of chronic, excruciating pain and an early childhood marked by several strokes, Caesar is now cured and getting stronger every day.

The emotional concert—attended by dozens of NIH staff, including the clinical team who treated Caesar and Children’s Inn staff, patients and a growing number of passersby—featured several classical pieces including Ode to Joy, Amazing Grace, the theme from Schindler’s List and a Bach sonata.

“It’s impossible to repay NIH for all you have done,” said Dr. Lucas Sant, Caesar’s father. Caesar, who also performed last Thanksgiving just weeks after the transplant, plans to make the Thanksgiving concert at NIH an annual tradition.—Dana Talesnik

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