Her name is Thea. She's happy in her red dress. Her green eyes multiply emotion intensity as only a 3-year old can do. She plays with all the people there for the inauguration. She would probably like to be the one cutting the red tape in front of her, but that's something grown-ups do. Thea watches all of us and smiles, as if she were inviting us into her home; the Nemo centre entrance is behind her.
These images, her name is clearly not her real one for reasons of privacy, will remain with us for the event held today, September 22, in Rome's General Hospital Gemelli where they inaugurated the Nemo Centre, thanks to the contribution made by people from Fater, Fameccanica and Procter & Gamble.
Seeing the fourth Nemo Centre created and functioning in Italy for people suffering from neuromuscular diseases is a really proud moment for those who contributed to its creation starting with the associations that have a direct role in managing Italy's Nemo Centres: Serena Onlus, Aisla, Associazione famiglie SMA, Associazione Slanciamoci, Associazione Aurora; along with the health structures, the Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Gemelli General Hospital and G. Martino General Hospital, Messina. A virtuous alliance highlighted by Authorities present at the inauguration and association representatives.
A project funded thanks to a simple, effective idea: the Christmas markets. Fater, Procter & Gamble and Fameccanica shared the project to support Telethon with their employees and offered their products at really convenient prices. People, supporting the charity purpose, bought the products and earned, in just the last three years, about 1 million euro in funds collected used to support the projects of Telethon and other associations.
Thanks to the simple gesture of thousands of people from the Fater/Fameccanica/Procter & Gamble team, Italy's fourth Nemo centre can offer patients suffering from a neuromuscular disease a multi-disciplinary therapeutic approach with treatments, when needed, directly at the patient's bed, with no need to move them. Treatment plans are personalised, the organisation considers the patient's age. The therapeutic and research approach is operated by a multi-specialist team including a neurologist, developmental paediatrician, lung specialist, physiatrist, physiotherapists and psychologist as well as specific consultants such as the speech therapist and neuro-orthopaedist. The Nemo ward also has high intensity rooms, ordinary admissions, Day Hospital and outpatient clinics.
Neuromuscular diseases are highly invalidating and, at present, there is no possible cure. Nemo centres open in hospital and university structures of excellence will also be able to have their say for research purposes. That is what the 40,000 people currently suffering from a neuromuscular disease in Italy hope for. And that is what we really want for Thea.