A warm welcome, a sympathetic ear and a helping hand – all made possible by the top quality building renovation project at Casa Siepelunga in Bologna. The Ageop Ricerca Onlus non-profit organisation has been involved in the fight against childhood cancer since 1982, and it will make this early 20th-century villa available to children and their families. The initiative is made possible by support from Enel Cuore Onlus and Enel Energia.
Monday 15 January saw the opening of the ground floor spaces - two 4-5 bed apartments for young patients before and after a bone marrow transplant, renovated and equipped thanks to a contribution from Enel of €100,000. Our group’s commitment also enabled a long-awaited facility to be established in the renovated villa at via Serralunga 8/10. This takes the form of a psycho-oncological listening point. Now, for the first time, psychologists from Ageop can offer their services outside Bologna’s Policlinico Sant’Orsola-Malpighi, in an informal setting that makes it easier to put guests at their ease. The service is not restricted to the young patients themselves – it is also intended to assist parents and relatives who may be struggling to endure the traumas associated with the death of a loved one, not to mention the difficult post-therapy period, rehabilitation, or re-admittance into the hospital environment.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of Bologna’s voluntary sector, as well as figures from the city’s municipal and religious bodies. Also present was Nicola Lanzetta, Head of Enel Italy Market. Ageop Ricerca Onlus was represented by its president Roberta Zampa, while Ilaria Puglisi, a psychotherapist from the Pediatric Oncology Operational Unit of Pesson described some of the activities that will be offered at Casa Siepelunga. The guest list also included Andrea Pession, Head of the Sant’Orsola pediatric hospital.
Although the greatest concerns are, quite naturally, raised by the bone marrow transplant itself, the periods before and after the operation can make a vital contribution to the psychological well-being of close family members. As a result there needs to be a constant emphasis on social inclusion, an objective that has guided Enel in its support for projects in Northern Italy, including the hospitalisation of children, and in the Central-Southern area, where initiatives to combat bullying and cyber-bullying have been launched. The four separate initiatives in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Sicily go under the name of “In the Heart of the Enel Point” and they share a common aim – to contribute to the creation of individuals who are “good citizens” as well as competent professionals.
The means to operate in both contexts come in the form of an annual competition involving around 140 Enel Points across Italy. The entrant obtaining the best sale results will be given the opportunity to choose a non-profit organisation or project in his or her area which will then receive a financial contribution. The beneficiaries in the most recent competition were Ageop and Casa Siepelunga. This was thanks to the Bologna Enel Point.
The villa facility will become fully operational in May, when a further four apartments will be opened on the upper floor of the villa. Every year up to forty children and their families can be cared for here. What may have seemed a dream only few months ago has finally become reality, thanks to Enel Cuore and Enel Energia.