The following story is very touching and invites us to think. It concerns a young and brave mom, Stefania, and her little girl, Bea. When Stefania became pregnant a few years ago, she and her husband were over the moon. Both parents were overjoyed to be welcoming their first daughter.
When Bea was born, she looked like a perfectly healthy baby. Family life ran smoothly, and the couple adjusted to the joys and challenges facing all first-time parents. But one day, when Bea was about 7 months old, something happened. Stefania was bathing her as usual, and although she was a very careful mother, Bea suddenly broke her wrist. Alarmed, Stefania rushed her baby to the doctor and a while later she received the answer that would turn her life upside down: doctors were not sure exactly what her baby had. They claimed she suffered from an extremely rare and unique illness, with no other known cases. The disease was making Bea’s body calcify at the joints. The prognosis: Bea would soon be paralyzed, like a living statue. She began to be referred to as the ”stone girl.”
From that point on, it seemed a terrible fate was looming above this once happy family. Shortly after her daughter’s devastating diagnosis, Stefania found out she had a tumor. Suddenly, the young mother was facing a battle on two fronts: fighting her illness and that of her daughter. Despite her own condition, Stefania did everything she could to make her child’s life as comfortable and happy as possible.
She also set up a website and an association to support research into Bea’s unique condition.
Over the years, Stefania, her husband and Bea have received love and support not only from family, friends and their community, but also from complete strangers who have been touched by their story, both in their native Italy and around the world.
Sadly, not long ago, Stefania — this incredibly brave, strong woman — passed away. We honor her extraordinary experience as a woman and as a mother, and offer our deepest sympathy to her family.
Bea still needs our support: it’s important to read about her story, to keep discussion and research on her disease alive, and to remember that life, even in the most difficult of times, is a precious gift that should be cherished with a smile.