Our Stories

Pasta for Prostate - Antonio Roberto's Legacy

July 17, 2019

When Antonio Roberto was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2010 through a routine blood test, the family rallied together to help him make the long and arduous trip back and forth from Juravinski Hospital to receive his treatment.

What hit home for Antonio was all his fellow patients who were there alone, family unable to make the trip with them into Hamilton.

“He used to say how sad it made him to see so many people facing their appointments alone, and that he was so fortunate to have his family and friends with him during this time,” explains Louisa, Antonio’s daughter. “He started thinking to himself what they could do to raise money for prostate cancer.”

When he completed his treatment in November 2011, he was inspired to host a fundraiser at the family restaurant Casa D’Oro, which he and his brother Jim opened in 1971. The idea was to bring the community together for a pasta dinner, modelled after the family dinners they had together on Sunday evenings.

And that is how ‘Pasta for Prostate’ was born. The family saw huge support from the start, with their suppliers and community members donating the pasta, the meat for meatballs, and even the coffee.

The event quickly grew into an annual event, Antonio and the family driven to help those who were facing their own battles with Prostate Cancer. The funds raised went towards prostate care offered at the new Walker Family Cancer Centre that opened in March 2013.

In November 2014, Antonio celebrated Pasta for Prostate alongside his family, friends and community at his nephews’ restaurant Strada West , enjoying a Sunday evening pasta dinner as the family had done together for decades. Sadly, it would be his last, as Antonio passed away shortly after the event in December 2014.

Just prior to his passing, Antonio and his family laid the path for this legacy: a commitment to raise $100,000 for care at Niagara Health’s Prostate Diagnostic Assessment Clinic. In the years that followed, Antonio’s family continued to lovingly host Pasta for Prostate in his memory.

“My dad would be so grateful to know that the event continued on,” said Louisa. “Everyone who attended came because they loved my dad.”

At the 9th Annual Pasta for Prostate in November 2018, the Roberto Family was able to proudly announce that, through the event and gifts from the family, $100,000 had been raised.

In June 2019, the four generations of the Roberto family gathered to celebrate the milestone and see the plaque honouring the memory and legacy of Antonio posted in a waiting room at the Walker Family Cancer Centre.

Thank you to Antonio and his loving family for all that they have done for prostate care at Niagara Health. Antonio’s legacy is felt now and will be for years to come.

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Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good.  It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life.

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