martedì 22 settembre 2009

Presentation VI leg Swimming tour of Europe. Capo Salvore - Muggia

Provincia di Trieste, Palazzo Galatti 19 settembre 2009

First of all, I’d like to thank you for the wonderful warm welcome

Maria Teresa Bassa Poropat, President of the Province of Trieste
Walter Godina, Vice President of the Province di Trieste
Mauro Tommasini, Assessore allo Sport of the Province of Trieste
Nerio Nesladek, Mayor of Muggia
Regional Council of Friuli Venezia Giulia
The city of Trieste
Giuseppe Donno, President of Panathlon Trieste - Muggia
Ladi Cociani, President Circolo della Vela di Muggia
Barbara Pozar, Vice President Unione Sportiva Triestina Nuoto
Ennio Abbate, President Lega Navale Trieste
Ernesto Brighi, Comandante Nucleo Operativo Carabinieri
Renato Basso, Gruppo Subacquei Carabinieri
Alberto Scherani, Deputy Mayor Comune di Capodistria, ( Croazia )
Dimitrij Susanj, Assessore alle Politiche Sociali Comune di Umago, ( Croazia )
Il Comune di Isola, 8 Slovenia )
Collegio del Mondo Unito - Adriatico

The path which brought me here began around three years ago, in my head.
I was looking for an effective and unusual way to communicate the needs and discomfort which are frequent not just for me, but for anyone who lives with a disability in a world which is structured for “normal” people.
In particular, I’ve experienced the immense difficulties present in our country to receive or listen to the problems of anyone who lives in a state of physical disability.
There are many limitations and problems connected to our condition, but to these are added obstacles caused by a social context which is culturally and psychologically years behind the rest of Europe as regards integration.
For rehabilitation we have to face huge costs privately to make up for the shortfalls in the public service and we have daily arm wrestling contests with bureaucracy to obtain what we should by law be recognised by the national health service.
The scarce attention given to people who occupy a parking space reserved for the disabled, or who obstruct an access ramp to the pavement, or who despite the laws in force doesn’t modify lifts or staircases which are impossible for many disabled persons to use, means in effect a limitation to our freedom and a huge blow to the dignity of those who are already deeply tested.
This project came about with a very precise intent, sparked off by the daily difficulties I encounter since I was fourteen when, due to an osteosarcoma, I had my right leg amputated and had to use a prosthesis in order to be able to walk.
Over the years, science and technology have made huge advances in the field of prostheses, which permit a quality of life which was unimaginable until a few years ago. But in Italy only a select few can benefit from this progress because the official list which determines the distribution of prosthesis by the national health service, hasn’t been updated since 1992.
On the contrary, luckily, the pharmaceutical industry constantly keeps pace with the evolutions in research.
Such scarce attention to the world of the disabled is unfortunately a sad constant in our country: There are never sufficient funds, never the resources, never enough attention.
From here my “battle” began, which has brought me around Italy and Europe giving me a unique and un repeatable experience most of all from a human point of view.
The realities I have known during this experience have shown me a completely different country, made of welcoming and solidarity, integration and comprehension.
The answers, always enthusiastic and constructive, which I’ve received and continue to receive from institutions, sports associations, individual athletes who often accompany me in the various legs of my journey, are the real force behind this project. From them I’ve received an important lesson, and thanks to them I feel I can contribute fully to the realization of a better world, a world without barriers, capable of maximising the potentiality of each individual.

It’s not been easy to organize and realise this project which couldn’t have happened without the commitment of the Circolo Canottieri Aniene, the Fondazione Roma and Italbrokers. For this, my thanks go to Presidente Malagò, President Emanuele and Stefano Giovannini. The faith they have shown in this project fills me with pride and strength.

Salvatore Cimmino.

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