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In Ravenna the Spiaggia dei Valori: to let people with serious disabilities experience the sea

A dream that comes to life from a wound. It was born like this there Beach of Values at Punta Marina Termeinaugurated on July 9th. It was given shape by Debora Donatipresident of the Ravenna association With you. “My husband fell ill with ALS (an extremely disabling neurodegenerative disease) in 2013. We had a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Camilla, Caterina and Carolina, who were 8 and 9. Dario’s disease lasted five years and didn’t allow us to take a vacation like everyone else does.” So Debora and her husband Dario began to do some research and look for a place where they could have a vacation similar to that of many families. “In the end, we found this equipped beach in Puglia and decided to travel 800 kilometers in a minivan to get there. It was very well organized because it had been founded by a gentleman who himself lived with ALS.” That gentleman, who soon became their friend and traveling companion, was Gaetano Fuso of the Io Posso Association, also suffering from ALS, one of the founders of Terrazza Tutti Al Mare!, an equipped and assisted structure that allows free bathing to guests with all types of disabilities, including disabling ones. Thanks to that support Debora realized her first dream. «We managed to get Dario to take a little swim in the Salento sea, and it was very important. Then, reflecting on the holiday, we said to ourselves that in Romagna we have beaches that are as big as football fields but we don’t have access for people with serious disabilities”.

The Values ​​Beach at Punta Marina Terme

As Dario’s illness progressed, Debora tried with all her strength to set up the beach they had imagined together. “The desire to build it in Romagna was born, we involved the Municipality of Ravenna and the Region. The answer came on Good Friday: the Region and the Municipality had assigned us the first piece of beach. I went home and managed to tell Dario, three days later he passed away but with the knowledge that we would carry on with that project”. In August 2018, Spiaggia dei Valori opened for the first time. “We stayed open for a month and it was really important. We had so many guests and from 2018 to today our association has welcomed more than a thousand families from Italy and abroad. But above all it has also gathered 1600 volunteers who come from all over Italy”.

Today that space that was born as a place that was assembled and dismantled every season has become permanent. “Last year we participated in a tender linked precisely to this piece of free beach. We won a 20-year concession that allowed us to build the new and above all permanent structure. We collaborate with the university, with the Romagna Oncology Institute, with the Montecatone rehabilitation facility, this beach is a reality that has created a lot of networking”. There are umbrellas, tents, cabins. Special equipment for lifting wheelchairs and expert staff available to vacationers. “Today our beach is the first Italian establishment to be able to offer 30 equipped and safe stations where people with disabilities and their families can enjoy a seaside holiday», continues Debora Donati. “Among the companies that have supported us from the beginning there is Vivisol, thanks to which we have been able to guarantee our guests various services. There are 18 completely shaded stations, which have electric columns, curtains that close, larger beds, anti-decubitus mattresses. We respond to the needs of the very serious disabilities and this allows us to welcome them all.”

The Values ​​Beach at Punta Marina Terme

The Values ​​Beach at Punta Marina Terme

A completely free service for people with disabilities, created thanks to public and private contributions, including Vivisol, a leading company in home care. “While the umbrellas that we have placed further along the beach this year, dedicated to able-bodied people, are paid for.” The beach also has a path in augmentative alternative communication and a tactile map for the blind, there are specialized operators ready to assist guests, while to ensure the possibility of bathing for people with disabilities there are special equipment to lift wheelchairs and expert staff available to vacationers. “It is designed to make everything accessible to everyone. We want it to also be a model. It fills my heart to be here. I always say that to get here I went through a lot of suffering, they were hard years, but today I find the meaning of what happened to me right here, on this beach. Among these families, among these people.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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