Home Health Edoardo Pini, from myeloid leukemia to the marathon: “If I did it, why shouldn’t others?”

Edoardo Pini, from myeloid leukemia to the marathon: “If I did it, why shouldn’t others?”

by admin

He wanted it, dreamed it, with enthusiasm and a little fear. Heavy legs, higher and higher beats, endless climbs. But Edoardo Pini could not give up. On 18 September, along the 37 km and over 2,000 meters of altitude difference of the Ultra Trail Lago Maggiore, he thought back to those days of 2017. The hospital bed, the spleen so large, the comings and goings of white coats, noise of his thoughts after the three words: chronic myeloid leukemia.

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The diagnosis

And to think that he didn’t even want to go to the ER. “What’s the use? The belly will be swollen from too many vegetables.” Instead, he has a blood cancer that progresses slowly and develops in the bone marrow, where the stem cells are found that give rise to white, red blood cells and platelets. One of these immature cells, or blasts, started multiplying uncontrollably.

But Edoardo is tenacious, he wants to fight. The initial treatment fails, there are two therapeutic options: experimental drug or bone marrow transplant. Bet on the second. “Will I be able to run again?”, The first question to the doctors of the San Raffaele in Milan. The answer heartens him: there are even those who participate in marathons. That’s all he needs.

The sport

Originally from Binago, in the province of Como, he has not yet turned 28 at that time. Specialized in Design & Engineering, he deals with innovation inspired by nature, with internships and experiences abroad. Like the creation of a solar desalinator, a product that removes salt from water to help Third World countries. And then he practices sport, more than a passion.

At the age of seven he discovered Tourette’s Syndrome, a neuropsychiatric disease characterized by the emission of sounds, noises and involuntary movements. The form is mild, but it has never spared him motor tics, from the face to the legs. Physical activity thus becomes a medicine, to let off steam, forget difficulties and make fun of becere.

He goes to kindergarten when he starts with football, because his grandfather reveals to him that a good player knows how to shoot with both feet. The love for Juventus and the idol Alessandro Del Piero do the rest. Complete and flexible winger, he stops chasing the ball during the last years of high school, when he throws himself on swimming, cycling and athletics. Triathlon, the sum of the three disciplines, has always intrigued him, their alternation allows him to breathe his muscles, stunned by those uncontrollable movements.

But it is with running shoes that he finds himself, in the countryside around his house or in the Como mountains that seem to dive into the lake. Listening to the sounds of nature, catching its smells, perhaps with your feet in a stream. His is the “philosophy of slowness”: why go fast, with your eye fixed on the stopwatch, without enjoying the journey?

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The intervention

September 18, 2018 transplant. The donor is the father. Over 50 days of hospitalization, months of drugs with more than twenty tablets in 24 hours, controls in which recurrence of the disease is unlikely but not averted. There are many side effects, even painful, but stay focused on the goal. Whenever he gets discouraged, Edoardo thinks of his parents, of his beloved Jessica whom he found after losing. Those relationships are the real strength, not everyone in the oncohematology department can afford them.

“It is not easy to be with me – he admits – I am attentive, sensitive, but always looking for something. I mull over, I wonder what my place is in the world. And I would like it to be a better place for many others, less fortunate”. Dreamer, but with concrete initiatives.

In 2019 he joined Il Bullone, a foundation whose motto is Pensare, Fare, Make Think. A way to involve people, as he will write in an article entitled Tourette’s Syndrome and Leukemia. Two very strong boxers: he tells of the most dangerous boxer, who suddenly appeared, and of the known one, which he has been dealing with for some time. There is no resignation, no desire for pity. An invitation to life, sober and decisive.

The company

In 2020 the most awaited news. For the moment, there is no trace of the disease in the follow-up tests. The Ultra Trail Lago Maggiore is his revenge, the date a wonderful coincidence: 18 September, exactly three years after the transplant. Unforeseen events limit him in preparation, he trains only for three weeks, until the end he is uncertain whether to attack the bib. Then he launches, concludes in 109th position, just four seconds before the 7 hour race.

Edoardo does not care about the time trial, he enjoyed the journey, he listened to his body, on the most grim slopes he distanced painful memories. All the while wrapped in the Admo flag, the Bone Marrow Donors Association, with which he crossed the finish line. Exhausted, incredulous. Is happy.

“Seeing me in a picture strikes me, if I think back to a few years ago. I would like a guy who is facing an oncological disease and loves sport to be inspired by my experience. If I did it, why shouldn’t others?”. Today Edoardo is 32 years old, he works in Milan for the Italian Institute of Technology and lives in Binago with Jessica and Achille, their fox. He does not stop mulling over the future and still seeks his place in the world. He doesn’t know what he will do when he grows up, but one thing is certain: every late afternoon he will put on his shoes and start running.

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