December 18, 2014
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Enduring passion to help others

Sam Chester is living proof that inspiration is ageless.

For those who didn’t see the story a couple of weeks ago on the front page of this newspaper, Chester is 99 and remains active. He still drives. He plays his violin and he still composes music.

That alone would make him extraordinary.

But it is his outlook on life and his desire to help others that make him an inspiration.

Chester has had an active life. By the time he reached his 40s, Chester was a successful businessman. He decided he had made enough money to allow him to pursue his passion for research. He went to work in a lab at Rhode Island Hospital. One of his first successes was the development of an antibody that saved mice that had been injected with leukemia cells – until that point all the mice injected died within a short time. Chester went on to develop tests that are still used today for the detection of certain types of cancer.

In the last year, readers have come to know Chester for his efforts to recognize the artworks of his late wife Esther and his generosity to a number of organizations. While his wife was living, this paper reported on the creation of the Esther Chester Art Gallery at Toll Gate High School and the Esther Chester Art Center at Temple Am David. Both feature framed prints of musical instruments that, with her use of color and movement, come alive.

Following Esther’s recent death at 94, Chester revealed that she had melanoma. Because of Esther’s age when she was diagnosed, physicians advised against surgery and advised Sam to contact hospice. Knowing a friend who had used low dose naltrexone (LDN) to successfully fight prostate cancer, Sam administered that drug to Esther. In three weeks, he said, her cancer was gone.

Chester believes many more could be helped, but he recognizes the naltrexone patent has expired and the drug is relatively cheap [Esther’s cure cost less than $50]. Hence, there’s no money for clinical trials. If LDN does work and that can be substantiated, a lot of people could be cured, but no one would make much money.

Knowing that, Chester has helped underwrite a clinical trial to be performed by the Brown University Oncology Group. They wouldn’t be doing it without his help. The trial will look at the effect of LDN on melanoma, prostate and renal cancers.

Validation that LDN works would be exciting and a significant breakthrough.

Whether that happens or not, Chester’s passion to help others is an inspiration.

One can’t help but wonder if others operated with a similar motive whether there would be more cures for so many ailments.

Editor’s note: Sam Chester will play the song he composed for Esther tonight at a concert in her memory at 7 at the Robert Shapiro Cultural Arts Center at Toll Gate High School. The concert is free and open to the public.


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