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May 31, 2000

Cover Story - Mastrianni's Brave Fight for Survival

By Sanford Wexler

Last year Gerry Mastrianni, 33, was faced with the greatest crisis of his life. And it had nothing to do with the value of the yen or the British pound.

His case of Hodgkin's disease, which he thought he had successfully treated, reappeared.

The only hope for eradicating the life-threatening cancer was to undergo a painful, bone-marrow transplant. There was no guarantee that the intensive, three-week operation and treatment would be entirely successful. His doctor told him that he should take care of his will before he entered the hospital. "To sit down and think that I might be dead in a couple of weeks was scary," he recalled.

The bone-marrow operation entailed receiving a number of highly powerful drugs that could have tragic results. Gerry coined the phrase Bring It.' It meant that he was willing to undergo whatever was necessary to rid his body of this terrible disease. "When they say we are going to give you this drug and you might not get up from it," he said, "that's as frightening as it gets."

He printed up 500 blue t-shirts that portrayed a knight in shining armor, with a caption that read, in large bold, white letters, Bring It.' On the back, the copy read, "Gerry Versus Cancer. My Money Is On Gerry." He sent the shirts to his many clients and trading buddies.

Popular Guy

Mastrianni is very popular. "All of the people on the Street who knew Gerry, including our competitors, often called in to find out how he was doing," said Chris Amato, the European trader at INTL.

"I needed to go in there like a fighter. I am not dying," Mastrianni said. "I don't care what you say, I am not dying."

Mastrianni is not one to feel sorry for himself or take a brief break from his life's passion - trading foreign stocks. He wrote a letter to Michael Bloomberg asking about the cost of installing a Bloomberg feed in his hospital room. Bloomberg gave him unlimited, free access to the world's foremost financial information service. He sent Mastrianni an e-mail that said: "Get well soon. Watch Bloomberg."

"I made more money from my hospital bed than on some days that I came into the office," Mastrianni quipped.

Back in Action

Today, he is back on his feet and is coming into the office every day. Thanks to the expert physicians and staff at the Walt Disney Memorial Cancer Institute in Orlando, Florida, Mastrianni has made a remarkable recovery. "The doctors, the nurses, and the lab technicians are the people who make a difference in this world," he said. "What do I do? I'm just a trader who moves money around."

Mastrianni credits his wife, Lisa, with helping him to pull through this tremendous ordeal and return to managing the trading desk. "Without her, I would have gone back permanently to my native New York," he said. Mastrianni thanks his many friends for their kindness.

He is a generous contributor to the Make A Wish Foundation and a frequent guest speaker at American Cancer Society functions. Mastrianni also spends time entertaining children who are afflicted with cancer. On one occasion, he dressed up as a dinosaur at a Make A Wish Foundation party for young, cancer-stricken children.

"It just breaks my heart to see these kids," Mastrianni said. "I feel lucky compared to them."

All of his good friends on the Street and at Traders Magazine wish Gerry much continued good luck. Our money is on Gerry.