«I am committed to the Veronesi Foundation to support it and to carry out prevention. I’m here to tell other women: “you can do it”, you can also be reborn”. With the help of a group of other sick women and with sport, recovering is easier
Alice Agostino is 40 years old and has (almost) come out of the storm that began during a holiday 11 years ago: she was a carefree girl like many others and today she is a woman who has had surgery several times for a ovarian cancer diagnosed when he was 28 years old. A “lucky” girl because ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in an advanced stage and is difficult to heal, while she has now left the disease behind. A smiling girl, even though cancer has deprived her of the possibility of becoming a mother, who today undertakes to carry on two messages which she cares deeply about: «First, I am alive thanks to scientific research and everyone must do what they can to support it : I tell my story, I put my face on it and I run. Second, after cancer you can be reborn. I have discovered that with the help of a group of other sick women and with sport it is easier to recover». These are the ideas shared by the Pink Ambassadors of Umberto Veronesi Foundationwomen operated on for breast, uterine or ovarian cancer who, after their illness, accepted a new challenge: participate in a competitive race and become testimonials of the importance of prevention, actively contributing to fundraising in support of scientific research on oncology female.
How to become a Pink Ambassador
«Our motto is “Nothing stops pink, nothing stops women” – says Alice -. And it’s not just a slogan: the Foundation’s project was born with the aim of demonstrating that after illness you can return to life stronger than before. All of us Pinks, after the disease, have accepted a new challenge: to participate in a competitive race and become testimonials of the importance of both prevention, actively contributing to fundraising in support of scientific research on female oncology, both of the benefits and physical activity can have on mind and body, before getting sick and even after». Alice applied and was selected in 2021, but the project is always active: in fact, until Sunday 12 March 2023, the recruitment of women operated on for breast, uterine or ovarian cancer is open, who have completed their therapies by September 2022, through thesending your application on the appropriate formto start training in April 2023. The groups will only be activated when a minimum number of 20 participants is reached and in the last edition they involved 20 Italian cities.
Ovarian cancer at 28
Alice lives in Vigevano, but in 2012 she was on holiday in Tuscany when she fell ill. «Because of very strong abdominal pains I went to the emergency room – she recalls: I had internal bleeding. From there a process of checks started that led me to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. At only 28 I ended up in a tunnel that lasted almost two years: three surgeries and then chemotherapy because the tumor was already in an advanced stage. I had to have my uterus and ovaries removed. We had to hurry, I was afraid. I was not explained the importance of undergoing techniques to preserve fertility and be able to become a mother in the future. At the time, between fear and unconsciousness of 20 years, I didn’t think about it. My parents did, but I was too scared and wanted to start cancer therapies… Today, however, I still have a life full of children and adolescents, from my grandchildren to those of Caritas where I work as an educator”.
Every day in Italy more or less 40 new cases of cancer (of various types) are diagnosed in patients, both male and female, who are less than 40 years old. Young oncological “survivors”, on the increase thanks to advances in early diagnosis and therapies, today can hope for a fertile future thanks to the various conservation techniques developed by doctors, but it is essential that patients and parents are correctly informed before start anti-cancer treatments that can forever compromise the possibility of becoming parents. «I am a serene woman, aware of the path I have taken – says Alice -. I processed fear, anger and negative feelings. I focus on the positives: I have a husband who knew and chose me knowing I couldn’t bear him children. I have a full life, a job I love and the Pink Ambassador team, a great support. That’s why I want to put my story at the service of other girls who are experiencing those dark moments today. I’m here to say “you can do it”».
Alice was not a sportswoman, she never liked running, she confesses. When you decided to apply for the Veronesi Foundation project, you decided to challenge yourself: if you had passed the anticancer therapies, you could also run a half marathon, right? So she found a new dose of well-being and what she herself defines as another big family: «I met women with stories similar to mine, there was no competition, but mutual support. I understood the importance of physical activity not only for the body, but also for the mind. I was tired, I was struggling a lot, but I felt better. And I’ve discovered how nice it is to feel part of a group, how much it can help you. We are proud of our pink T-shirt: being part of the Pink Ambassadors means making people understand how useful prevention is and how indispensable scientific research is, because it is thanks to it that we and I are alive”.
And just to do prevention Alice is about to undergo the genetic test to search for the mutation of the BRCA genes: the explanation of her ovarian cancer at such a young age could be written in her DNA, given that there have been other stories of uterus and breast cancer «If it were positive I would be at high risk of breast cancer, I would have to do it as a precaution… the idea doesn’t excite me, but being able to anticipate cancer is still a fortune».
March 7, 2023 (change March 7, 2023 | 07:41)
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