A Brazilian father who lost all three of his children to cancer has tragically died from the disease. Regis Feitosa Mota, 53, and his children learned in 2016 that they all had Li-Fraumeni syndrome or LFS, a condition that drastically raises their risk of deadly tumors forming.
The economist, from Fortaleza in the northeast of the country, had battled cancer twice already. But in January this year he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma — a cancer affecting white blood cells.
Eight months later he died, leaving behind his wife Mariella who said the pain was ‘indescribable’ and that she had been sure he would beat the disease.
Their youngest daughter Beatriz died in 2018, aged 10, from leukemia, while their son Pedro, who was training to be a mechanical engineer, died in 2020, aged 22, after suffering a brain tumor.
Their eldest Anna Carolina died in 2022 aged 25 after also being diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time of her diagnosis the year before, she was engaged and had just become a doctor — with plans to specialize in dermatology.
Pictured above is father Regis Feitosa Mota, from Fortaleza in north-eastern Brazil, with his three children. They have all died from cancer. The youngest Beatriz died from leukemia in 2018 aged 10. His son Pedro died in 2020 aged 22 from a brain tumor and his daughter Anna Carolina, 25, died from a brain tumor last year. She had previously battled leukemia
Mr Mota, 53, revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma — or a type of cancer affecting white blood cells. He died eight months later after treatment. His wife Mariella said the pain was ‘indescribable’ because she was sure he would beat it
LFS is a condition thought to affect at least one in 20,000 families and possibly as many as one in 5,000 families.
Up to 50,000 Americans are thought to have the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The disease is diagnosed via a genetic test, with scientists warning it can trigger cancer at any time — although this is more likely to occur at an earlier age.
It is caused by a mutation in the TP53 gene, which plays a crucial role in preventing the development of cancer by regulating cell division and triggering cell death when DNA damage is detected.
People with LFS are most likely to suffer cancers in the bones, muscles and connective tissues as well as breast cancer, brain tumors, leukemia and cancer in the adrenal gland.
But a range of other cancers have also been detected in sufferers, including lung cancer, kidney cancer and cancers in the intestinal tract.
Mr Mota was first diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after he went to doctors with a fever, neck swelling and muscle weakness.
They told him that he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia — a type of cancer in white blood cells in the bone marrow.
In 2021, he was then diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma — a cancer in the lymph system, a circulatory system that moves fluid through the body.
This year he was diagnosed with his third cancer.
At the time, he said: ‘We discovered yet another disease.
‘We have already treated lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are now stabilized. But… they are not cured.
‘This time, we discovered multiple myeloma, which even affects the bones.’
He was checked into a hospital at the end of last month and died two weeks later on August 13 — Father’s Day.
He was cremated the following day in his home city.
Paying tribute to her husband, his widow Mariella Pompeu said: ‘My friends, I never imagined making this post.
‘I never prepared myself for this moment because I was always convinced Régis would make a full recovery.
‘It’s an indescribable pain. The ground has opened up and I don’t know what life will be like without his affection, companionship and absolute love.’
Pictured above is Mr Mota with his two children Pedro and Anna Carolina. All three have now died from cancer
Mr Mota is pictured above in a hospital while receiving treatment for cancer
His brother Rogério Feitosa Mota said: ‘Our warrior went to meet his children exactly on Father’s Day.
‘May God take you, my brother! We love you so much.’
The family was first struck by cancer in 2009 when the eldest Anna Carolina, who was 12 at the time, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.
She went through radiotherapy and chemotherapy against the disease for three years before being declared cancer free.
But when Mr Mota was diagnosed with a similar blood cancer in 2016 — after suffering fever, neck swelling and muscle weakness — he became suspicious.
That same year his son Pedro, then 17, was also diagnosed with bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, in his left leg.
He told the BBC in 2022: ‘At that moment, we started to believe that these three cases could not be a coincidence.
‘During this period, we decided that it would be better to investigate.’
This was when they ordered genetic tests that revealed Mr Mota and his three children all had LFS.
Adults who have the disease have a 50 percent chance of passing it on to their children. Strangely, Mr Mota’s his parents, then aged 85 and 78, were not thought to have the condition.
Mr Mota said he was never blamed for the cancer by his children, however, who said he was ‘as much a victim as they were’.
Pictured above are Mr Mota’s three children. The youngest Beatriz, in the center, the middle child Pedro, on the right, and the eldest Anna Carolina. All three have died from cancer
Mr Mota is shown above with Pedro and Anna Carolina. Pedro had hoped to become an electrical engineer while Anna Carolina was engaged and had hoped to become a dermatologist
After the diagnosis of the genetic condition, the family would go for regular medical checkups.
In 2017, his youngest daughter Beatriz, then aged nine, was diagnosed with leukemia.
She received a bone marrow transplant, but in 2018 tests showed that the cancer had returned ‘very quickly’. She was not able to receive another transplant and died from the disease.
His son Pedro received several years of chemotherapy to fight the bone cancer, but tests showed that despite treatment it had spread to his lungs and parts of his spine.
In 2019, he was also diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in November the following year.
He had wanted to be an electrical engineer and attended college for two months, before having to stop due to health treatments.
For his eldest, Anna Carolina, after fighting off the initial blood cancer, she had no further diagnoses until 2021 — when she got the news she had a brain tumor.
At the time she was engaged, set to get married the following year, and had just become a doctor — with plans to specialize in dermatology.
‘It was quite dramatic when she discovered brain cancer,’ Mr Mota said at the time, ‘because she was formed, full of dreams and expectations’.
‘She was engaged, wanted to get married in 2022 and specialize in dermatology.
‘She wanted to be a doctor since she was a child, because of the time she spent in the hospital treating leukemia and also because of her stepfather, now deceased, who was also a doctor.’
Mr Mota shot to fame after revealing his family’s situation on an Instagram account, named @regisfeitosamota, where he would post regular updates about their journey.
It currently has nearly 900,000 followers.