by Giuseppe Savarino

Covid-19 has not canceled the other diseases and this also applies to thalassemias, sickle cell disease and rare anemias, which affect over ten thousand patients in Italy. To put them back at the center of attention, United Onlus – the Italian federation that represents 25 local and regional organizations of thalassemia, with more than 4500 members throughout the country – has launched the “Donavita Project” campaign.

The new national campaign, created in collaboration with the Sava & Sava communication studio, aims to reach citizens with a simple message: donating costs nothing, but can save the lives of many people. And this is true, both if you donate blood (in Italy there are over 10 thousand people suffering from thalassemias and rare anemias that require regular blood transfusions), and if you donate 5 per mille to scientific research, engaged in laboratories for the development of new and more effective treatments. You can therefore join the campaign in various ways: by becoming blood donors, by spreading content on social media or by signing your tax return.

The important thing is that the gift becomes a habitual and widespread gesture of solidarity. Precisely for this reason, the campaign has chosen to tell the disease with the simple language of normality, of the will to live, devoid of sensationalism and compassionate elements that leverage pain and suffering to move the public. It is no coincidence that United Onlus has chosen the smile of Andrea Caschetto, who will be the testimonial of the campaign, to convey this message.

Andrea, aged 15, underwent a delicate brain surgery that deprived him of memories. But he did not take away his generosity and the desire to give to others. So much so that today, Andrea, who is 31 years old, has carried out dozens of international volunteer projects and fundraisers to build pediatric centers in Africa and South America, gaining recognition all over the world. He also recently became a blood donor, a role that in the past was precluded for health reasons.

“Donavita Project” includes several steps. First, a television commercial shot with Andrea Caschetto, aimed above all at young people, which will be broadcast on the main national networks and on social media. Second, the “Donavita Challenge”: a donation marathon, complete with nominations on social media, launched by the main testimonial of the campaign that will involve other celebrities and public figures from cinema, fashion, TV and entertainment. Each, in turn, will name three more in a solidarity contest so that the challenge goes viral. Third, the Donavita Real life docu-fiction: the cameras will enter the transfusion centers to tell, through the voice of the protagonists – young patients, doctors, researchers – their real life, daily experiences, dreams, fears, the projects and ambitions, but also the effects of the disease, the treatments and hopes linked to medical advances. Fourth, the Donavita Scuola Tour which will bring these same themes to the classrooms of all levels, up and down the peninsula, with the testimony of celebrities, doctors and health workers to inform and raise awareness. The campaign also aims to involve the business world, and in particular scientific research and multinational companies, to support basic research through sponsorships and free donations. Giving not only improves the quality of life of others. But it makes us more human, it makes us feel brothers.