Kurt Spiteri, a former manager at Valletta’s premier steakhouse Sciacca Grill and Lija’s Michelin Starred Bahia, has spoken out on his battle with cancer in an emotional video.
Produced by insurance company LifeStar, the video shows Mr Spiteri telling his story, starting from his 2018 diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the blood cells.
He reminisces about the past, on his experience as a dancer in the Latin American style and his experience taking part in competitions abroad.
“Competitions,” he says with a smile, “where we used to get very good results.”
Mr Spiteri explains that he always worked in hospitality, first with his family and then as a manager in some of Malta’s top restaurants.
He says that when he received the news he didn’t even believe it.
“At first, when they told me I have cancer, I took it as if I could do it,” he says. “I kept gong to work, coping with my life, going for treatment and going out.”
However, the cancer kept persisting. “You could say it didn't want to leave,” he jokes.
After that, Mr Spiteri started paying close attention to what he was eating.
“Since I love cooking and have always worked in this field, I would spend whole days at home, cooking and finding alternatives to the unhealthy things I like to eat, and trying to inspire people.”
He would post his dishes and recipes on Facebook and Instagram, something he credits with keeping him connected to the community around him.
“I didn’t expect to have that kind of support,” he says.
His family, boss, friends, colleagues and clients all came together to organise fundraisers for Mr Spiteri, which attracted some of the islands’ most high profile people and a lot of social media attention.
Mr Spiteri explains that he needed this money to seek treatment at a private clinic in Germany, “to try for the last time”.
“You can say they were a big support during my journey,” he says. “Life is a battle without cancer, and with cancer you have an even bigger battle.”
He continues: “You need a lot of resources to fight cancer. You need your mind, and the way you think and your positivity. You need the people around you and their love.”
Mr Spiteri states that life isn’t easy, but "having support and love gives you a lot of encouragement.”
He availed himself of the LifeStar Cancer Care Plan, which is the first product of its kind on the local market, promising a sum of up to €100,000 upon cancer diagnosis.
“You need money too," concluded Mr Spiteri. "You need a lot of money, unfortunately, to fight this illness. And I found LifeStar when I needed them."