A school of courage

Publish date 22-10-2022

by Roberto Lerda

Daniela Di Fiore is a smiling woman. You have the maturity and experience to tell almost 10 years of teaching to cancer children at the "Agostino Gemelli" Polyclinic in Rome.
Since 2010 she has been called there, moving from Naples to Rome. She says: «I had won the professorship and asked to be transferred to Rome and they sent me to school in the hospital. At the beginning it was not wanted and it was very hard, because it is a reality that I did not know; then it was the boys who taught me and guided me, they gave me a compass, a meaning in life ».
The relationship that Daniela and her colleagues manage to create with the children is quite special: they are teachers, but at the same time she almost becomes part of the family; the right roles are maintained, while leaving room for some emotions that certainly go beyond simple schooling. We enter into a profound communication, as mysterious as the pain that affects these young students.

«They may not even study - he continues - because they are in difficult health conditions, but instead they want and therefore they are looking for you. There have been many moments of pain and even anger, because you feel truly helpless when a boy or girl you have followed passes away ... But they are the ones who help me to bear the loss of someone, because the companions are still there and they need you. From them I learn the courage to never give up ». Last year Daniela was appointed by the President of the Republic "Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic" with the following motivation: for the passion, professionalism and sensitivity with which she carries out the teaching service in favor of the little patients in the ward of pediatric oncology at the “Agostino Gemelli” Polyclinic in Rome.

You summarize all this in the term "mission". Teaching, sharing, accompanying, trying to overcome together the mystery of pain, even darker when it affects children and young people. Only if there is a network of people around is it possible. This is the real mission!

Roberto Lerda
NP June / July 2022

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