Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on December 31st, 2013

Augusto Odone: Who rejected doctor's opinions and saved his son's life.

Today's story is of an agonizing decision parents of a small child had to make. As you read this story, ask yourself what you would do in like circumstances.

Augusto and Michaela Odone had a beautiful six year old son Lorenzo, one who loved opera and Greek Mythology, and who was bright, curious and active.

But in 1984 while in a Washington, DC area kindergarten class, Lorenzo began falling down and began to have trouble hearing. His speech also became slurred.

After extensive medical testing, Augusto and Michaela received devastating news. Their little boy had ALD (adrenoleukodystrophy), a hereditary disease that would soon paralyze him, and in two to three years would take his life.

They appealed to doctors and researchers for solutions but were told it was hopeless. ALD, like Multiple Sclerosis, destroys the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells within the central nervous system, which controls body functions.

Augusto Odone
Augusto Odone

With ALD the body stops functioning and the patient dies.

But Augusto and Michaela refused to give-up. They devoured medical journals seeking answers and found research that claimed animals, like ALD sufferers that had abnormal levels of "very long chain" fatty acids, got relief from certain oils commonly used in cooking.

At their behest, in 1986 after extensive experimentation, a British biochemist created an edible blend of olive and rapeseed oils that might save 8 year old Lorenzo's life. Doctors ridiculed what to them was a nonsense, yet still offered no solutions of their own.

So the choice was this: Augusto and Michaela could try this experimental oil on Lorenzo or follow medical protocol and let their son die. They chose the oil.

Within three weeks of taking what became known as "Lorenzo's Oil," Lorenzo's very long chain fatty acids returned to normal.

But it did not offer the cure Augusto and Michaela had hoped for.

Lorenzo lived in a vegetative state. He could communicate by wiggling his fingers and moving his eyebrows, as he enjoyed being read to and listening to music. And in a sense, his parents still had the pleasure of his company.

Their story was so dramatic, that in 1992 it became a major movie starring Nick Nolte as Augusto and Susan Sarandon as Michaela, entitled "Lorenzo's Oil."

As for Lorenzo, he lived far beyond expectations, passing away at age 30 in 2008.

In 2000, Michaela died at the age of 61 and Augusto remained devoted to Lorenzo until Lorenzo's passing eight years later. In 2013, Augusto passed away at the age of 80.

Augusto and Michaela not only cared for Lorenzo, but had great compassion as well for others with ALD. In 1989 they founded the Myelin Project which seeks cures for ALD, Multiple Sclerosis and other related myelin destructive diseases.

Success Tip of the Week: If you or a family member is fighting a devastating disease with no cure don't give-up hope. Dedicate yourself to finding a cure or advancing the research as Augusto and Michaela did.

Editor's Note: To learn more about the Myelin Project: http://www.myelin.org/. To see a movie trailer of "Lorenzo's Oil:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxkylRxJxh8 To learn more about Augusto please see his Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post obits. To read Augusto's book telling their family story: http://www.lorenzoandhisparents.com/

In the next KazanToday: A former U.S. slave who founded what is now a global church.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
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