July 27, 2021

“Now I help others to recognize the signs of the disease”


Just 29 years old Ilaria Gallizia suffered a stroke that caused her severe brain damage. A lot of rehabilitation, perseverance and tenacity have allowed her to recover, over time, some of the functions lost due tosudden blackout of blood to the brain. Today, at 45, Ilaria has achieved its own autonomy and has a quality of life that he defines as acceptabledespite left hemiplegia and permanent disability.

The beginning

It all started in September 2004 when I collapsed to the ground in a semi-unconscious state after strong dizziness, says the woman. I was following a training course in France to participate as a marine biologist in an Italian expedition to AntarcticaInstead, I suddenly found myself fighting for my life. They told me that I was rescued by helicopter and taken to hospital in Aosta, where the doctors had given me up for dead, then they decided to move me to Turin where I was operated on. I woke up after a month of pharmacological coma, paralyzed and intubated, but I reacted, and started a long rehabilitation process.

Six months in the hospital

After six months, Ilaria is discharged and finally returns home to her hometown of Genoa. When I got out of the hospital in a wheelchair, I was absolutely unable to get up or walk Ilaria stresses. I started dating every day a post stroke center agreement with the National Health Service, where I stayed six hours to do physiotherapy, speech therapy and neuropsychology; also, three times a week my father took me to do therapy for an hour by a private physiotherapist specializing in hemiplegia. I paid 50 euros an hour, but it was nothing compared to the possibility of standing up and recovering.

The first steps, after two years

After almost two years, in July 2006, Ilaria begins to take a few steps. I slowly got back on my feet in 2008, I permanently put the wheelchair in the cellar in 2011 and since then I walk with the help of a stick remember. It was a long journey that required a lot of courage, commitment and perseverance to be able to start living decently again. For 4-5 years I was focused on recovering mobility and I could not work, then in 2009 I found a permanent job through the law on protected categories. Of course, I had to scale my goals: I was about to go to Antarctica and I find myself with a permanent disability, which will accompany me throughout my life, without being able to move the left arm which will never recover, and the left leg stiff.

Volunteering in the Alice Liguria association

All in all I was lucky in my sudden disability; life goes on and I’m happy with myself: I am independent in washing, dressing, going out for small shopping, walking to work, I can take walks in the mountains with my boyfriend and, when I can, I go to the pool. I frequent the Alice Liguria association, which is committed to promoting campaigns for sensitize the population to immediately recognize the alarm bells of stroke, therefore to call the emergency services, because every moment is precious to save life or avoid serious permanent damage. Since last year Ilaria no longer goes to the rehabilitation center she had been attending for years. He moved to a building on the outskirts and, to reach him, I would have to quit my job, he explains. Moreover, themy motor situation is not amenable to further improvements. Now I “only” pay physiotherapy once a week, so as not to regress and lose the skills acquired.

12 December 2020 (change 12 December 2020 | 18:56)

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