A helping hand and heart for Casa Libera


Bologna calls, and Brescia answers. Brescia, an important city in Italy’s Lombardy Region, has inaugurated the “Casa Libera” (Free House) project. This comes just a few days after the appeal made at Casa Siepelunga, following the renovation work funded by the Enel Cuore Onlus Foundation and Enel Energia. The aim is to increase the number of lodgings and reception services for children receiving bone marrow transplants.

A new €43,000 donation by Enel - in addition to €30,000 in grants from the Lombardy Region - has made it possible for the ABE Association to complete the renovation of “Casa Libera.” Previously confiscated, this property in Nuvolera (a small town 25 km east of Brescia) now houses two cosy flats which have been renovated to host children with tumours and their families during treatment at the Spedali Civili Hospital in Brescia.

The accommodation will provide an intimate and protective setting, as well as assistance by professionals and volunteers before and after the bone marrow transplant procedure. To facilitate transport between the hospital and Casa Libera, part of the donation was invested in buying a new car. This will be used by ABE staff to take the children and their families to and from the hospital during the entire period of care.

The Brescia-based Bambino Emopatico Association (ABE) presented the project on Monday, 22 January, at the Hospital’s Paediatric Unit.

ABE was founded in 1981 by a group of parents with children with leukaemia. The organisation is responsible for the management of seven nursing home apartments, and now that number is set to increase. The lodgings are used 365 days a year to accommodate, free of charge, those families who, after their children’s bone marrow transplant, need to continue therapy while staying close to the hospital. The number of admissions has gradually increased over time: with about 50 new cases of childhood cancer being treated every year at the Brescia facility, and an average of 30 cases of immunological diseases that can only be treated with transplant operations, finding more accommodation has become a necessity. At present, 300 children are in treatment at the paediatric haematological oncology unit: they come from all over Italy and 12 other countries.

Enel Cuore and Enel Energia have helped to provide new spaces which are both practical and provide psychological and relational support. Not only that, they can help reduce waiting times for children receiving bone marrow transplants. These flats mean that the hospital beds can be freed early, thereby ensuring a faster turnover of patients. As the person in charge of Enel’s Flagship Stores Dario Corrisio explained at the inauguration, every year our Group earmarks charity funds through the initiative called “Nel cuore del Punto Enel” (In the heart of Enel Points). The procedure is quite simple and is based on the competitiveness of the points of sale: those that achieve the best results are rewarded with the possibility of financing projects in their own local community, once Enel Cuore has assessed them in terms of solidarity and sustainability.

The inauguration was also attended by Luciana Corapi, President of ABE, and Fulvio Porta, Director of the Paediatric Haematological Oncology Department at Brescia Spedali Civili Hospital: once again, thanks to Enel, private and public partners have come together to give a new heart to Casa Libera.