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Courtesy of Arnoldo Mondadori Editore.
An Italian paralympic champion, sports journalist and disability rights advocate, Giuseppina "Giusy" Versace, authors a compelling account describing her new life after a tragic car accident in August 2005.
1. On her initial impressions from the hospital.
2. On how her accident brought together family members and friends.
3. On the emergency first-responders who came to visit her in the hospital.
4. On the weight of the Versace name.
5. On witnessing Paralympic events for the first time.
6. On her first pilgrimage to Lourdes.
7. On the denials of her initial requests to learn how to run.
8. On why she founded a disability initiative, Disabili No Limits ONLUS.
9. Publishing credit.
10. About the Author.
"Me, Giuseppina, born into the Versace family under lucky skies, who made me a nice enough girl from a good family. And who presented me with a sense of belonging to a tough and beautiful land and to its people. Suddenly, I had nothing more. I had a borderline in front of me. And a choice: To pass through it or not. To try to look beyond or stay attached to a past that no longer existed.
I believe that I made the proper choice. I packed my bags lightly and only brought behind the clearest light of faith. And that illuminated strength from people who walked by my side, I passed through the pain. From that point, well, it was a great gift."
--- Giusy Versace, Author of "Con la testa e con il cuore si va ovunque" ("With your head and heart, you can go anywhere"), page 11.
Versace. It is a celebrated name with instant global recognition inside and outside of the fashion world. The protagonist of this story didn't grow up in the fashion capital of Milan. Giusy's world was at the far tip of Italy in sunny Reggio Calabria. Her life changed in an instant during one rainy, August night, en route to a client meeting.
In an incredibly detailed and passionate account, the author chronicles her lengthy convalescence, learning how to walk with two prosthetic devices, adapting to a new life, experiences with fellow patients, returning to work, then changing gears to become a competitive athlete and television commentator, respectively.
She also discussed how friends, colleagues, family members and strangers treated her, along with how her religious faith provided spiritual guidance throughout her ordeal.
With English subtitles from a discussion in October 2015.
Let's take a look at excerpts translated from the Italian in this compelling story of candor, courage, the will to live, to adapt and flourish in a new reality.
1. On her initial impressions from the hospital:
"I knew everything already. I saw everything in a dream: the obligatory path, the left-hand curve, the guardrail that turned into a weapon which cut away part of me. It would have been better to listen to the voice that told me not to leave home. But at least I am alive. In a department as difficult as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), it is a privilege." Page 24.
2. On how her accident brought together family members and friends:
"Strangely, at a certain point, this happened: I, the one who lost her legs, began to unite friends and relatives. 'It's already good luck to be here... I'll get through it... I'll get back on my feet quickly...' It could seem like a paradox but it gave me an incredible strength. I want to return to what I was before and not only for me. I want to do it for them.
I don't know how to explain the affection, solidarity, and in a trivial sense, the fans who surrounded me. It moved me to see so many people who made long trips or who also decided to present me with an hour of their time." Page 44
Dal Napoli campione d'inverno alle ultime di calciomercato Benvenuti a #LaDS n°3111 da @AleAntinelli e @GiusyVersace pic.twitter.com/7austwZaW8— La Domenica Sportiva (@DSportiva) January 10, 2016
With her co-host, Alessandro Antinelli, at the venerable Italian sports show, "Domenica Sportiva."
3. On the emergency first-responders who came to visit her in the hospital:
"I am flattered to see these heroes there, next to my bed, only to give me a smile and to know how I am doing. They are persons who dedicate their own lives to save those of others as they saved mine. I hardly know them, but one thing is certain: I'll never forget them and will carry them always in my heart." Page 58
4. On the weight of the Versace name:
"I'm a Versace but I didn't have an easy life for this reason. Milan eats you up and spits you out. Above all, in the fashion world. And above all, if you don't have the right connections. And above all, if you have a burdensome family name such as mine and work for rival agencies." Page 94
The only way to do great work is to love what you do! #SteveJobs #sundaymotivation @GiusyVersace @DSportiva pic.twitter.com/jXhWVA3b2E— Save the Dream (@savethedream) January 10, 2016
5. On witnessing Paralympic events for the first time:
"It's the first time that Simone and I attended a Paralympic event. I didn't even know that the Paralympics existed nor even the dimensions of the prosthetic Center. Promotion of the event is limited and in Italy (Oscar) Pistorius is still a great unknown. For me it was all new, exalting, and entertaining. Antonio threw the shot put, discus and ran the 100 meters with a sporting prosthesis. It was a completely unknown object to me." Page 123
6. On her first pilgrimage to Lourdes:
"Many go to Lourdes to ask for grace. I had nothing to ask for. I only had to thank the one, in the most terrible and difficult time of my life, who listened to my prayers and didn't abandon me. Either then or afterward. I'm there with two new legs. Even if after awhile, I become tired, I can walk and this is already a miracle for me." Page 137
7. On the denials of her initial requests to learn how to run:
"After a year from my first request, they continued to sustain the same things. But at that point, I saw it differently. It's a folly to try to discourage me from taking up a sport. It's a folly to try to discourage any disabled person to take up a sport.
Sport is not a luxury for those who live with a disability or at the very least, it shouldn't be. It's a way to overcome and accept a condition that is often difficult which requires a constant strength and an indestructible tenacity. Besides, I didn't ask to run at the world championship. I only want to try to run for running's sake." Page 151
8. On why she founded a disability initiative, Disabili No Limits ONLUS:
"I spent years listening to stories of persons I encountered along my path, in Budrio (a rehabilitation center), but also in Lourdes or during athletic games. And these stories worked inside of me. They filled me with serenity, happiness at times, but also melancholy and a sense of impotence. I had to find a way to channel all of this energy and do something productive and good.
The foundation came out of the desire to share my experience with others. And to give all of them a sense that they have, or feel the need, for a chance to try out an unique experience of autonomy and freedom that sport can give." Pages 159-160
9. Publishing Credit:
"Con la testa e con il cuore si va ovunque" di Giusy Versace.
I have received a complimentary review copy of this book from a representative of Arnoldo Mondadori Editore in Milan, Italy. I was not financially compensated by the publisher, author or any other party for this article.
My translated excerpts were approved by a representative of Arnoldo Mondadori Editore and are exclusive to World Football Commentaries.
@worldfootballcm WOW WOW WOW THIS IS A BIG SURPRISE !!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH. HOPE TO MEET YOU SOON ...IN MILAN 😉— Giusy Versace (@GiusyVersace) January 15, 2016
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Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015.
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