“Double success in America for Salvatore Cimmino, the disabled swimmer from Torre Annunziata, Italy, and for his ” Swimming in the seas of the globe ” project, whose goal is to reach out to the public on`the importance of research to reduce the obstacles that prevent social integration of the disabled.
Cimmino won his challenge in the Boston Bay, a 30 km swim in cold and difficult waters, literally conquering the public and the local media, which have strongly supported his cause as in his previous successful legs. A success that the mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, wanted to formalize yesterday, delivering on behalf of the city a special recognition of the courage and the passion of the “Italian champion”.
Reading this ADN Kronos news agency brief by Simona Bonini, and reported by the major sites on the web, encourages me to continue even further on my path: I wish to ask the city of Boston to support me again to help me to realize Simona’s dream, which is to drive a car to improve her mobility, and to make her effective contribution to society as a lawyer. I ask Boston because it is a city with an extraordinary urban organization, suitable for every human being, and I really wish the whole world could and wanted to follow the example of its political leaders, to give birth to another ten, hundred, thousand Bostons.
I still have another goal and another hope: I need support and interest for the last stage of my project “Swimming in the seas of the globe,”, when I will arrive in New York to circumnavigate the island of Manhattan. With these “marathons”, as you are aware by now, there are many goals that I set and last but not least, at this moment, in my heart there is Goma, Congo. There are the children of Father Paul’s orphanage and the amputees of the prosthetic center. I wish I could bring concrete help, so that I could give back to all the people that I met there a little of the great joy that they were able to give me. Currently in Congo they are living in fear, populations are besieged by war and by a thousand difficulties and obstacles of every nature: I want to express my affection to all my friends who live and work there, and send them a big hug.
Based on my experience of being disabled and the life that followed, I got in touch with that part of the world that has always worked to integrate into society people who face their daily emotional relationships, work, life with greater difficulty than those without disabilities, and they have succeeded. I wish the same opportunities could be offered to the entire world.
There are many conditions that deprive the person with disabilities of the dignity that is necessary to live a fully realized life: small things and big ones: missing a flight that prevents access to a place, a narrow elevator that does not allow entry to a wheelchair, crossing a traffic light without the beep for a blind person.
And again, the prejudice in the eyes of a so-called normal person, which paralyzes and demeans the person with disabilities, the cultural emptiness of parents who do not teach their children the principles of hospitality and solidarity, the myopia of many governments who do not understand the potential, real and concrete, deriving from including people with disabilities in the labor market.
According to the UN, there are about 750 million disabled people around the world, and if you add their families, the number of people involved in disability issues reaches over 2 billion, a third of the world population.
Both in poor and rich countries, people with disabilities are generally poorer and they are a fifth of those living with under one dollar a day, without food, clean water, clothing and shelter. As reported by the UN, people with disabilities account for 10 percent of the world population.
During my stay in Boston I was a guest of Professor Hugh Herr’s company, The Walk, where I had the chance to try his ankle bionics: the sensations were incredible, it felt like walking with my own foot, and I will be forever grateful to him for this.
From my personal experience, I can say with absolute certainty that the quality of a prosthesis can truly change our lives!
I send a big hug of gratitude to those who have allowed me to convey my message: Filippo Frattaroli, Alberto Mustone and Domenico Susi, extraordinary people who have greeted me with precious affection and friendship. My stay in Boston, thanks to them, has been one of the most beautiful and meaningful experiences in my entire life.
To Marialberto Mensa, to the Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli, Greg O ‘Connor, Elaine K. Howley, Ken Goldman, Paul Parravano, to my coach Filippo Tassara and Giovanni Giordano, Nicola Orichuia and to all the Bostonians who have shared my journey of hope, thank you!