Can’t walk well yet, but JoSunday, stood out the Volo. In Torre del lago Puccini (Lucca) the little Santabarbara, four and a half years old, from Tirrenia (Pisa), affected from birth by complete bilateral tibial hemimelia (the shins are missing, an almost unique case in Italy), it was guest of the well-known singing trio composed by Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble both before going on stage and during the concert, held at the city’s Gran Teatro. Welcomed as a star by both the artists and the public, the little girl was able to experience a magical evening, made of music but also of light, hospitality and above all of hope. That of not being alone in facing the long journey that awaits her.
During the concert Gianluca Ginoble dedicated the song “Can’t Help Falling in Love“, While Ignazio Boschetto got off the stage and sang”Nicola and Bart”Holding little Jo in her arms. The little girl, excited and a bit stunned during the two moments dedicated to her, then went wild dancing and singing throughout the evening.
The meeting with Torpedine and the interest in Jo de Il Volo
Behind the images and films, behind every dedication received by little Jo during the Il Volo concert in the village of Viareggio, there is a story that uniquely links the little girl to the three singers. Thanks to an exceptional intermediary. A story that began two years ago, as Santabarbara’s mother tells us: “A few months before the premiere Jo’s American departure towards your dream to walk with his legs (given that in Italy the only solution was amputation, ndr) we knew Michele Torpedinethanks to Antonella Pera, a friend both of us and of Torpedine. Michele a man with an immense heart, delicate and very sweet as well as professionally exceptional, he fell in love with Jo and inquired about the history and our needs. He didn’t back down – explains the girl’s woman -. Since then, she has supported Jo’s surgical path. She cares about his health and her happiness. The boys with him – she adds referring to Barone, Boschetto and Ginoble -. Yesterday (Sunday 24 July, ndr) have turned every spotlight on the girl. They dedicated very special moments to her. Jo has always been a little fan of theirs. She watched the concert with attention and emotion. Also for this departure the boys and Michele have not pulled back and continue to also support us economically“.
The story of Jo Santabarbara
Little Jo was born in Pisa on March 24, 2017. Her story, even before she was born, appears to be anything but downhill. A problematic pregnancy but, as the family explains on the Facebook page “Jo’s dreams“, On the way to giving birth and even after they met extraordinary people to give them support. “After quite a few obstacles, Jo was born. Exams, hospitals, visits, physiotherapy ”, they say. She was immediately diagnosed with a serious problem in both legs, bilateral tibial hemimelia, as well as falls, even if not totally, in the Vacterl syndrome, highly complex and very little known. Jo presents a scoliosis due to multiple hemivertebrae. Unfortunately in Italy the only solution proposed to the family was amputation of both legs and possibly use of prostheses.
“We did not give up in front of this one way, we searched and tried again until we knew the existence of Paley Institute in Florida and of Dr. Dror Paley who presented us another way, long, painful, expensivebut possible and we have undertaken it “.
In March 2020, the first operative step which ended with the return of the family to Italy in October of the same year. To deal with it would have taken over a million dollars, “but thanks to the good heart of Dr. Paley and his foundation we had to support 270 thousand euros of medical expenses alone – they write on Facebook -. As for the lower limbs, Jo underwent two surgeries of 12 hours each which saved from the hypothesis of limb amputation proposed in Italy ”.
In September 2022 the girl will have to go back to Florida at Dr. Paley’s Clinic, where she will again undergo some delicates surgical interventionsdecisive among which the elongation of one of the tibias.
At the moment through shows, donationsil involvement of artists and celebrities from the world of entertainment such as the guys from Il Volo, Fabio Insinna, Michele Torpedine and many others, in addition to the sale of gadgets, were collected over 380,000 euros, thanks to which Jo was able to fly to the United States for the first time. Today, thanks to the tutors, she is able to stand and move independently, but the path is still long and everyone’s help is needed to make this little girl’s dream come true, so that she can finally walk like everyone else and stand out. I fly to a happy life.