“My heroes, the fighting patients, parents & caregivers.”
We arrived Thursday, June 7, on our last stop of our End ME/CFS Worldwide Tour in Zanè, a town in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. We were welcomed with a lovely dinner we shared with Giada Da Ros, President of the CFS Italian Association, Paolo Maccallini , Dr. Eligio Pizzigallo, and other new friends.
Giada, also coordinator of OMF’s Italian Translations Team, did an absolutely amazing job planning the event on Friday with the teams of the CFS Associazione Italiana onlus and the Associazione CFS onlus.
This event was in many ways quite unique in our field. Giada and her colleagues managed to have it approved as a training session for medical professionals and journalists, and they also received endorsements from five government institutions, including the “Italian NIH!” The room was packed with approximately 150 people; about half were patients, parents, and caregivers. Many drove for hours to be there, and some came all the way from Germany. The rest of the room was filled with journalists (about 25) and doctors/researchers. The eight speakers were excellent, and I was fortunate to have my talk translated as I spoke by translator Valentina. After the talks, we shared a lovely dinner at the same venue.
“It was a smashing success. We were joined by 150 people, who were thrilled to hear all the excellent presentations. Linda’s presence made the difference and we are confident it made a huge impact for the awareness of the community, medical and at large. We are very happy with the engaging and productive afternoon we spent together,” Giada Da Ros, President CFS Italian Association.
While preparing for my travel home via New York for a few more meetings, I am reflecting on our End ME/CFS Worldwide Tour in the U.S. and Europe these past few months. There are several important reasons why I keep doing these talks. It is part of OMF’s goal – which primarily facilitates and funds research — to deliver hope, and to share, educate, and raise awareness.
A highlight of these talks is that some patients leave their homes for the first time in months or years and actually get to meet other patients, some of whom they have emailed but never met. I personally enjoy meeting so many new friends.
In the Netherlands and Italy, several journalists, doctors, and government officials now have a better understanding of this horrific disease. Another benefit is that I get the opportunity to meet with other researchers and doctors who speak at and attend these talks and learn what they are doing. We are grateful that throughout our tour, all expenses are covered by the hosting organizations, so all the money we raise on the tour can go to accelerate this urgent research.
We are all in this together. Don, myself, and all our OMF colleagues can’t thank the organizers enough for their excellent work and warm welcomes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
With hope for all,