As an organization, Cieli Azzurri has supported several projects over the years that were mainly focused on finding a specific solution to a given surgical problem. This has included, at various times, trying to provide families in need with access to the best doctors, enhancing the level of preparation of medical and nursing personnel in certain specialized units/hospitals, or acquiring the best pieces of surgical equipment for those same units/hospitals.
With this latest project, “da Grande, Milano”, we have chosen instead to focus on what happens after a surgical operation, and on the kind of contribution that our organization can offer in the post-surgery recovery process. The cases that we tend to come across, in fact, often require multiple and/or recurring operations, which can be extremely complex and span multiple years (as is the case, for instance, for children who suffer from particularly rare conditions). In these cases, it is important not just to find the best possible surgical solution to the problem at hand, but also to help patients regain a sense of normalcy and overall mental wellness, which can often be challenging to do under these conditions. Reflecting on this, we realized that supporting the post-surgery recovery process could also mean providing access to unique experiences, be they in the fields of sport, culture, or something else. The idea behind this is that experiencing something special and unique could help the kids and their families find a small moment of relief in what is otherwise a difficult ordeal to navigate. This idea was initially born out of the mind of Professor Ernesto Leva, and as soon as we heard about it, we enthusiastically offered our support. Milan is a city where charitable causes often find many willing benefactors, and as a result, we decided to approach some of Milan’s most symbolic and beloved institutions, such as FC Internazionale Milano, AC Milan, Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano, the Scala Foundation, the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, the Feltrinelli Foundation and the University of Milan (La Statale). Considering our longstanding focus on a number of rare conditions affecting newborns and infants, we also decided to reach out to the main organizations in Milan that focus their activities on these conditions. These organizations’ activities usually entail two main areas of focus: on one hand, providing access to the most up to date information available with regards to a given condition, and on the other, providing moments of relief and joy to the families affected by that condition. This is what led to the birth of the “da Grande, Milano” project (which literally translates to “Growing up, Milan”). This project has two main areas of focus: the first will be to put together a portfolio of cultural and sport-related events that will be made available to attend to those children who have undergone several and/or recurring surgeries in one of the three main pediatric surgical units in Milan (Policlinico, Niguarda, Buzzi). Some of the events making up the portfolio could be, for instance: football games, basketball games, attending football/basketball training sessions, visits to the Scala museum, attending rehearsals for certain plays/shows, visits to the Duomo or the Duomo’s museum and visits to the marble quarries of Candoglia. (For further details about each of these events, please refer to the following website: ). The second area of focus of the project will instead aim to support the aforementioned organizations in organizing conventions centered around the conditions that they focus on, with an eye on both the medical and scientific part of the events as well as the more social aspects of them. The two areas of focus of the project aim to address two different needs: on the one hand, we want to have a direct impact on children who have undergone a complex surgical operations, hopefully helping them to recover quicker from a mental and psychological standpoint. On the other hand, for children whose conditions are serious enough to entail multiple surgeries, the project aims to support activities that can enhance knowledge around their pathologies, in order to potentially facilitate a better overall outcome for them. Altogether, the project endeavors to allow children to feel as though the most representative organizations of Milan, as well as the more specialized organizations which operate in the city, offered their continuous support in different ways, not just through exceptional medical care, but also by helping them to regain a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos – contributing to instill a positive overall memory of Milan as the young patients grow older and enter adulthood. This is an ambitious project, and it would not be possible without the support of one of the largest banking institutions in Italy, the Deutsche Bank Italy Foundation, which has guaranteed its support for the first three years of the project. We have also been lucky enough to count on the support of project partners such as CSI and ABIO, and our project has obtained the patronage of the Municipality of Milan and of the Region of Lombardy. It was officially presented to the press on the 24th of November, 2022. Should you wish to offer your support to this latest initiative, please visit the “How You Can Help Us” section of this website, specifying “da Grande, Milano” project when prompted.