Disability today, compared to the past, is no longer a limit, it doesn’t preclude your chance to dream, to have a job, a house, a family and to travel.
Today’s technology, applied to transportation, to buildings, to prosthetic devices, has no boundaries. If you also perform a sport, even at an amateur level, disability will not disappear, but it will no longer pose an insurmountable obstacle.
Before I started to swim I had no voice, just like a ghost. I was tired of fighting, my need for help, except by my dear ones, was never considered: disability, in our society, is seen as chronic, irreversible, hopeless, and the only response from the institutions was and remains a neutral, aseptic and episodic assistance.
When I returned to life, thanks to the solidarity of a person capable of listening, the first thing that came to my mind was to denounce all this: the complete abandonment of our institutions that do not take into account the achievements from applied research to disability.
The removal of all architectural barriers, modifications of the prosthetic regulations and standards, and all those rules designed to safeguard the dignity of persons with disabilities
were and remain a slogan set for propaganda purposes.
When I became aware of my swimming skills and goals, that could be achieved through discipline, passion and sacrifice, I did not think even for a moment about the obstacles that I could meet. I just thought that I, with my commitment, could make a contribution to a greater project, to improve the life conditions of disabled people.
Worldwide, there are over seven hundred million people with disabilities, who represent more than 10% of the total population. Only in a few countries, these people can enjoy an adequate, fair and democratic legislation, while in many others, most live in a state of marginalization and hardship.
Just recently, I have received support for my project “Swimming in the Seas of the Globe – for a world without barriers and without borders” by an organization as important as the WOWSA – World Open Water Swimming Association, which nominated me, together with 14 other famous swimmers, to their “Man of the Year” award. I want to thank the leaders of this noble institution, which represents the highest values of this sport, for their support. I learned to love this noble discipline and I am proud and excited to help bring out a message of peace and solidarity through it.
This is why, with humility and at the same time with great pride, I ask you to support me by voting, to help me with my project of integration and acceptance, to make the world we live in a wonderful place for everyone.