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V.I.T.A.: a quarter century of fighting against breast cancer

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The V.I.T.A. Association, a beacon of light for those who are dealing with breast cancer and their families, has recently celebrated its twenty sixth anniversary. Founded in 1998 by seven brave women, all diagnosed with breast cancer, the group, an acronym which in Italian stands for “Living with cancer actively”, is a local association tied to “Europa donna”. Through the years, V.I.T.A. grew and evolved, always committed to their fundamental mission of welcoming, helping and supporting those struggling with breast cancer.

Valeria Martano, president of the V.I.T.A. Association

Valeria Martano, president of the V.I.T.A. Association, emphasises the importance of continuously evolving the association over time. «Welcoming and supporting women dealing with cancer remains crucial to us. The Association works with other oncological illnesses as well, and welcomes men struggling with the same disease»

Sharing experiences between members is one of the Association’s most distinctive features. Martano explains how comparing different survival stories, as well as one’s own, can give women who have just undergone an operation hope and encouragement. 

«When I meet women who have just undergone an operation, I begin to tell them my story – explains Martano -. When I tell them I’m alive and active twenty four years after the disease, I see a smile run away from their face; they probably think: if she could do it why can’t I? Comparing experiences is key». 

V.I.T.A.’s initiatives

The Association also promotes breast cancer prevention through initiatives like excursions, journeys and game nights: «They share experiences through writing, manual skills, painting, theatre and life dance workshops. These offer associates a way of expressing themselves and facing the disease in a creative and social way». 

Furthermore, the Association is committed to sensitising institutions and local communities through visual elements, such as lighting up significant landmarks with the colour pink, symbol of the fight against breast cancer.

«The network of towns are essential – explains Martano -. As of today, there are thirteen Turin and Asti Administrations that are supporting our initiatives, making a positive mark on the territory, by putting up pink benches or lighting up monuments: Arignano, Andezeno, Cambiano, Castelnuovo don Bosco, Chieri, Marentino, Moncucco Torinese, Montaldo Torinese, Pavarolo, Pino Torinese, Riva presso Chieri, Santena, Villanova d’Asti. A bench was inaugurated at Groscavallo and they’re working on one at Piovà Massaia (which will probably be inaugurated on the 2nd of June), and one is already present at Liceo Monti. Different experiences were proposed to all of the towns, especially conferences and book presentations. Many light up their landmarks in October». 

Martano highlights the importance of extending the Association’s reach to other local towns. They created listening points and promoted prevention initiatives even within companies and high schools. 

The Association’s mission

«The fundamental mission of these 26 years hasn’t changed – recounts Martano – however dialogue with institutions has gotten better, it used to be much harder than it is now: other opportunities both with medical and political institutions are emerging». 

They hope is to develop a network of transportations, in order to help those affected by cancer who may live in more remote locations. 

Martano underscores: «A system of transportations would facilitate the movement for people with breast cancer and provide them with continuous support». 

Despite economic and logistic challenges, V.I.T.A. continues to be a beacon of hope. It also support to those who are fighting breast cancer and their families, showcasing how solidarity and effort can make the difference in facing the disease. 


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