Treated 2010 · Posted 2015 · Updated 2019

“The camaraderie among the other patients going through proton treatment and the LLUCC staff was wonderful. Loma Linda’s philosophy, to ‘Make Man Whole’ changed my life. It was not just the treatment—patients were encouraged to pursue a new lifestyle."

Leo Ranzolin was born in Southern Brazil on December 5, 1933. He later went on to graduate from Brazil Adventist College in 1954 and subsequently started his Pastoral Ministry with seven churches in the State of Parana.

Leo married Lucila Braun Rabello on February 20th, 1956. Lucila was the daughter of the pioneer of the Voice of Prophecy, the first religious program on the radio in Brazil in 1943.

After graduating college, Leo decided to further his education in the U.S. In April 1956, he and Lucila moved to Glendale, California. While there, Leo attended La Sierra College, Potomac College, and Andrews University while Lucila worked at the old Loma Linda Hospital.

A few years later, the two had three sons and the family moved back to Brazil in 1965. There, Leo worked for another five years in Youth Ministry.

In 1970, the family moved back to the U.S. and Leo attended the World Conference of the Church in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was elected Associate Youth Director Worldwide and served from 1970 to 1980. After ten years, he was elected Head of the Department. In 1985, Leo was chosen to serve as liaison for Latin America and serve as Associate Secretary. In 1990, during the World Convention in Indianapolis, Leo was elected as one of the six vice presidents. 

In 1990, the Proton Program was established at Loma Linda University Cancer Center in California. In fact, many of Leo’s colleagues at the World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland were treated with protons for prostate cancer at LLUCC around this time. As a vice president, Leo was the Advisor to three departments and one of them was Health Ministries. There, he was acquainted with Dr. Richard Hart, former Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer at LLUCC (now President), who gave Leo some good counsel in Special Commissions on sex, AIDS, health and more. Later, he also met Dr. Lynn Martell who he refers to as “a tower of strength for all those being treated for prostate cancer.”

For thirty three years, Leo had traveled all over the world. He was in excellent health and attributed that to being a vegetarian for forty years. But in 2010, after Leo had retired and moved to Southwest Florida, a routine check-up raised a red flag. His PSA came back at 4.7 and his Gleason score was 6. Leo’s doctor recommended he see a urologist. 

A biopsy was done shortly thereafter in Naples. While Leo was on the road visiting his son near Roanoke, Virgina, he received the call that he had early stage prostate cancer. The news was devastating to Leo, but he knew exactly what to do. His youngest brother had gone through proton treatment in 2000 and was doing very well. So Leo immediately called Dr. Hart and asked him for advice. Dr. Hart suggested that Leo send his test and biopsy results to LLUMC.  

Fortunately, both Medicare and the church's supplement insurance covered proton treatment and in September 2010, Leo had his first treatment. Two months later, he celebrated his graduation. "What a joyful day that was," Leo exclaimed. He experienced no side affects and felt great throughout the entire treatment.

“The camaraderie among the other patients going through proton treatment and the LLUCC staff was wonderful,” Leo said. “Loma Linda’s philosophy, to ‘Make Man Whole’ changed my life. It was not just the treatment—patients were encouraged to pursue a new lifestyle. So, not only did proton therapy treat my cancer and give me a better quality of life after treatment, I’ve learned to exercise more and consume a special regimen of fruits, nuts and vegetables.”

At the LLUMC 20th Anniversary Celebration, Leo was honored to carry the Brazilian flag as part of the ceremony As a member of the BOB, Leo enjoys receiving the newsletter and making calls to other BOB members to connect and learn about their experiences.

Leo recently turned 82  and has enjoyed excellent health since his treatment ended in 2010. "My PSA has been great! I have a good doctor here in Naples and he checks it every 6 months. My wife and I have enjoyed traveling to the West coast these last 5 years. I have many relatives in the LA area, a son at LLU, one in Virginia and another in Maryland. My wife, Lucila and I will be celebrating our 60th Wedding Anniversary, February 20, 2016. We were married in Rio, where the Olympics will take place next year!"

Leo is involved in his local church in Fort Myers as an elder and pastorate. It is his privilege to be the Chairman of two projects: A Historic Youth Ministry Museum in Battle Creek, MI  and Gospel Outreach, an organization headquartered in College Place, WA. Leo also participated in two large "camporees" of the church's "scout program" called Pathfinders. One program was in Oshkosh, WI where 47,000 were in attendance. The other was in Barretos in S. Paulo, Brazil. There were 35,000 in attendance and Leo was a speaker.

Leo also had the opportunity to be a delelegate during their World Convention, in San Antonio, TX last summer. The church also has an annual council in Silver Spring, MD. Every October, Leo translates for the attending Brazilians. "It is a great joy to visit with many friends and especially to see how many of the young people I worked with  are now the new leaders of the church. Gratifying!"

Update: October 2019

At age 85, Leo is doing great! He tells us he's been a vegetarian for nearly 50 years; he drinks lots of water; he's never smoked or drank alcholol; and he never eats between meals. "My wife and I have our main meal at noon and eat very lightly in the evening," he said. "We consume lots of fruits and vegetables." Leo also walks and bikes often. He told us he's the first male on his father's side of the family to reach 80 and touts his healthful lifestyle and the Seventh-day Adventist church for this achievement. "I'll be 86 in December and so far, the Lord has blessed me! I don't know how many years I'll have, but the main thing is to be active and enjoy the time we're on this planet!"

Keep it up, Pastor Leo!