Giacomo, 8 years old, was, for one day, the youngest astronaut in the world. At six, while completing the cures against medulloblastoma who had struck him two years earlier, was welcomed at the Altec Space Center in Turin with his mother, father and little brother Filippo, to meet Paolo Nespoli, the protagonist of three space missions. And he learned how to travel, live, sleep, wash and eat in space.
Giacomo’s was one of 2400 wishes fulfilled, in the last 18 years, by Make-A-Wish Italia, the non-profit organization that since 2004 has been involved in giving a smile to children suffering from serious illnesses. In the last 18 months, the list of young patients with a dream in the drawer has grown (also due to Covid restrictions), and today there are about 250 waiting. But Make-A-Wish wants to make them all, and launches the solidarity initiative active until November 14th. To donate enough a text message or a landline call to 45584.
“I had discovered the organization a few months before my son’s illness, then I had recognized the posters on the doors of the ward during his first hospitalization in neurosurgery. At first I was a little reluctant, perhaps out of modesty, perhaps because I know that, here, Make-A-Wish works for children with serious illnesses»Explains father Alberto. «But we applied, and soon the volunteers, the“ fairies ”, arrived to meet Giacomo. We need the ok from the doctors who are treating the children to get the project started ».
In Giacomo’s case, there wasn’t much time to wait.
“Yup. My son had finished his therapies and was undergoing checkups. An astronaut’s cape was sent home: he colored it together with his brother, who was involved in the whole operation ».
How was the visit to the Space Center?
«Before leaving for the day at the Center, Giacomo was very agitated, and to think that he still did not know that he would meet Nespoli. The astronaut then accompanied him, by the hand, on a visit to the control room. Giacomo had a pair of headphones with which he was also in communication with the European Station. We accompanied him: the staff warned us to be careful not to touch anything, because the Space Center was in operation. Continuously updated data appeared on the monitors, and we parents were as excited as our children. “
Giacomo was an astronaut for a day.
«Yes: he had a meal as an astronaut student, he was explained how the training works and he even obtained the diploma as a youngest astronaut, which was given to him by Nespoli. Giacomo felt at ease and, even if he is usually a little shy, after a short time he moved with confidence in the rooms of the Center. Time flew that day ».
Was it a happy moment for you parents, even though Giacomo was still ill?
“Yup. Even now it is a happy memory, which I hardly even associate with my son’s illness. When I see the video of that day, I am always moved ».