Roberto D’Angelo + Francesca Fedeli: In our baby’s illness, a life lesson


Francesca Fedeli: Ciao. So he’s Mario. He’s our son. He was born two and a half years ago, and I had a pretty tough pregnancy because I had to stay still
in a bed for, like, eight months. But in the end everything
seemed to be under control. So he got the right weight at birth. He got the right Apgar index. So we were pretty reassured by this. But at the end, 10 days
later after he was born, we discovered that he had a stroke. As you might know, a stroke is a brain injury. A perinatal stroke could be something that can happen
during the nine months of pregnancy or just suddenly after the birth, and in his case, as you can see, the right part of his brain has gone. So the effect that this stroke
could have on Mario’s body could be the fact that he couldn’t
be able to control the left side of his body. Just imagine, if you have
a computer and a printer and you want to transmit,
to input to print out a document, but the printer doesn’t
have the right drives, so the same is for Mario. It’s just like,
he would like to move his left side of his body, but he’s not able
to transmit the right input to move his left arm and left leg. So life had to change. We needed to change our schedule. We needed to change the impact
that this birth had on our life. Roberto D’Angelo: As you may imagine, unfortunately, we were not ready. Nobody taught us how to deal
with such kinds of disabilities, and as many questions as possible started to come to our minds. And that has been really a tough time. Questions, some basics, like, you know, why did this happen to us? And what went wrong? Some more tough, like, really, what will be the impact on Mario’s life? I mean, at the end,
will he be able to work? Will he be able to be normal? And, you know, as a parent,
especially for the first time, why is he not going to be better than us? And this, indeed, really is tough to say, but a few months later, we realized that we were really feeling like a failure. I mean, the only real product of our life, at the end, was a failure. And you know, it was not a failure
for ourselves in itself, but it was a failure
that will impact his full life. Honestly, we went down. I mean we went really
down, but at the end, we started to look at him, and we said, we have to react. So immediately, as Francesca
said, we changed our life. We started physiotherapy,
we started the rehabilitation, and one of the paths
that we were following in terms of rehabilitation
is the mirror neurons pilot. Basically, we spent months
doing this with Mario. You have an object, and we showed him how to grab the object. Now, the theory of mirror
neurons simply says that in your brains, exactly
now, as you watch me doing this, you are activating
exactly the same neurons as if you do the actions. It looks like this is the leading
edge in terms of rehabilitation. But one day we found that Mario was not looking at our hand. He was looking at us. We were his mirror. And the problem, as you might feel, is that we were down, we were depressed, we were looking at him as a problem, not as a son, not
from a positive perspective. And that day really
changed our perspective. We realized that we had to become a better mirror for Mario. We restarted from our strengths, and at the same time
we restarted from his strengths. We stopped looking at him as a problem, and we started to look at him
as an opportunity to improve. And really, this was the change, and from our side, we said, “What are our strengths
that we really can bring to Mario?” And we started from our passions. I mean, at the end, my wife and myself are quite different, but we have many things in common. We love to travel, we love music, we love to be in places like this, and we started to bring Mario with us just to show to him the best
things that we can show to him. This short video is from last week. I am not saying — (Applause) — I am not saying it’s a miracle.
That’s not the message, because we are just
at the beginning of the path. But we want to share
what was the key learning, the key learning that Mario drove to us, and it is to consider
what you have as a gift and not only what you miss, and to consider what you
miss just as an opportunity. And this is the message
that we want to share with you. This is why we are here. Mario! And this is why — (Applause) — And this is why we decided to share the best
mirror in the world with him. And we thank you so much, all of you. FF: Thank you. RD: Thank you. Bye. (Applause) FF: Thank you. (Applause)

34 Comments

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  2. Having a disabled child opens your heart to depths of love you never knew you had or could experience and that is a good thing

  3. Children have the best outcomes with these devastating brain injuries. Since they are still growing and not fully functioning (not yet encoded with all the stuff that becomes hardwired) the brain is like clay and can be remolded into what ever it needs to. Praise God for the design of our brains that can be reconfigured.

  4. Guys, I dont remember the last time i've cried. Seriously.
    Im a father, and your speach changed myself. I'm glad you have the opportunity to share with us your story.
    Best wishes from Brazil!

  5. I tried it and got very ill when absorbed thru skin. It has been promoted as a fake cure for cancer and other conditions

  6. Ted Talks have gone seriously downhill. The story was a good story, and I am beyond happy for the family, but…I've stopped even watching T Talks for the most part becuase I get sick of wading through the countless mediocre talks to find the decent ones.

  7. Bravoooooooooooooo
    Bravo 100000000 times.
    we are all born with nothing and we keep improving all our life.

    thanks you.

  8. My son also had a stroke while in uterine. We found out when he was nine months old and could not crawl correctly, pull himself up, or sit. I had had pre-term labor from 29 weeks gestation and the pediatric neurologist says that is when his stroke happened. By twelve months the Early Intervention Therapy had caught him up to his peers.
    Phoenix is ten years old now and you would never know that he ever had any issues. I know exactly how the parents feel. Good luck Mario!

  9. My son had a perinatal stroke…. He's 19 months adjusted and battling along, but his future looks bright… I couldn't hold back the tears, when little Mario walked out – such a wonderful cheeky smile – well done to all.

  10. grazie, complimenti. ho avuto l'ictus nove anni fa. ho 53 anni. e ho seguito il metodo Perfetti e sono cresciuto moltissimo. grazie. giovanni menegon

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