Sofia Sacchitelli, a medical student at the University of Genoa suffering from a rare form of heart cancer, died last night at the age of 23. In recent weeks she had become the symbol of the fight against rare diseases. She had also founded the “Sofia in the heart” association, created to raise funds for a scientific research project to improve the quality of care and expand the therapeutic offer for patients affected by her disease.
In recent days Sofia had been awarded the first gold medal of merit in the history of the University of Genoa. Sofia, on November 10, 2021, had discovered that she had cardiac angiosarcoma in the right atrium, a very aggressive tumor that affects one in 3 million people. “I asked the doctor, why me? And he replied: just bad luck – he said -. But I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, I want to do something useful.”
The president of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, and the regional council expressed “profound condolences for the passing of Sofia Sacchitelli” clinging to the family. “On the occasion of March 8, International Women’s Day, her sister Ilaria had taken part in the non-stop marathon organized by the Liguria Region, to tell Sofia’s commitment, offering her testimony as a woman and speaking of the work that her sister carried forward for the development of our society”, recalls Toti.
“His legacy and his tenacity will never be forgotten, safe travels Sofia”, the message of the mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci.
“The courage and steadfastness of Sofia – adds the president of the regional council, Gianmarco Medusei – have been and will be a point of reference for all those who, affected by a serious illness, are looking for support, a foothold to transform this tragedy into an opportunity for redemption and hope. Before Sofia, another Genoese woman, Rosanna Benzi, was for many years a formidable example of intelligence, strength to live, an anchor against suffering. The gratitude and admiration of all of Liguria goes to them forever”.
Sofia Sacchitelli, 23-year-old medical student at the University of Genoa, affected by a rare form of heart cancer
The farewell of the San Martino hospital in Genoa
“Sofia Sacchitelli, a medical student of our university who was very young affected by a very rare heart tumor, has died”. To give the news with a post on her Facebook page Matteo Bassetti, director of infectious diseases at the San Martino hospital in Genoa. “Sofia has fought against this evil also trying to raise public awareness on the issue of rare diseases. He had also founded, together with others, the “Sofia in the Heart” Association for a social commitment and scientific research on this issue. Sofia was an example of courage and strength, as well as attachment to scientific and medical values. Happy travel Sofia…indeed (even if fate has deprived you of this earthly joy). Have a nice trip Doctor…illuminate the research and study of rare diseases from up there…”.
“Sofia in the heart” has already raised 100 thousand euros
To invest in scientific research against cardiac angiosarcoma, a heart tumor so rare that it affects 2-3 people every million and lethal, the non-profit organization “Sofia nel cuore”, founded by Sofia Sacchitelli, has already raised almost 100,000 euros. A family friend and member of the non-profit organization explains it, as she illustrates the first projects born out of Sofia’s commitment.
“We founded the association and we are moving forward very quickly, we have already organized the first research project with the Italian Sarcoma Group association – explains the friend -. Throughout Italy there are points of reference in the fight against cardiac angiosarcoma and we are in contact with other associations in the world. The goal is to continue the directives of Sofia”.
In recent weeks, the collection has been personally promoted by Sofia herself, first in a public meeting that some media had talked about, then through interviews with newspapers and magazines. As her condition worsened, her relatives and friends replaced Sofia at various public events.