Instead of gifts for First Communion, a little girl named Luna wanted to open a fundraiser to support research against pancreatic cancer, the disease that last year took away her mother Susanna, and to which all over the world she is dedicated the day of November 18. The story told by the Menzella family is a story of great solidarity, which today is the testimonial of the need to conduct new studies on this tumor, for which there are still few therapies.
Clinical Cancer Research, More Opportunities with a National Network
by Letizia Gabaglio
The story of Susanna, Raffaele and Luna
“In January 2019, a cruel diagnosis suddenly threw us into the nightmare of a parallel universe”, says Raffaele, husband of Susanna and father of Luna: “We were without reference points, without reliable information, alone in our despair and in our our pain “. They were welcomed by the Oncology Clinic of the Ospedali Riuniti of Ancona, directed by Rossana Berardi, Professor of Medical Oncology at the Polytechnic University of Marche and member of the National Board of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology: “Professor Berardi – continues Raffaele – has made available to us the few weapons available today to combat this terrible disease. The Oncology Clinic has thus become part of our life: our rituals, our complicity stronger than despair, the endless hours in the rooms and corridors, the confrontation with the equally desperate stories of those who lived our same nightmare, and for which Susanna always had a particular sensitivity, so much so that she always overshadowed her suffering because ‘that lady, that mother, that girl from the next bed… there were always those who suffered more than her. Susanna leaves a huge void in our lives, but she continues to fill our souls and instill courage in everyone with her example. She taught everyone a lot and I consider it a gift of life to have met her, a privilege to have benefited from her affection and love ”. To collect his legacy, with the support of Professor Berardi, Susanna’s family wanted to make a contribution to the research activities of the Oncology Clinic, through a fundraiser on the occasion of the First Communion of their daughter Luna. “A gesture of enormous generosity, that of Luna and her father, to which we are deeply grateful, which is in favor of scientific research”, says Berardi, who followed Susanna together with the doctors Riccardo Giampieri and Alessandro Bitton.
Pancreatic cancer, more research and patient care
by Barbara Orrico
Cancer of the pancreas
There are about 14,300 citizens in Italy who received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2020. It is a very aggressive neoplasm against which, to date, effective weapons are still too few. Only 12% of women and 11% of men are alive 5 years after diagnosis. “Due to the lack of specific symptoms, early recognition of the disease is not possible in most cases”, concludes Berardi: “Investing in research is the only way to combat a disease that is still very difficult to treat. Only in this way will we be able to improve the chances of survival. Today just 21,200 people live after the diagnosis in Italy ”.