During this Pink October, dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer, the institutional initiatives of Europa Donna Italia continue, to better present the requests of women and in particular of patients. A delegation from Europa Donna Italia met the President of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana and had the opportunity to present the value generated by volunteering in our country and in particular in Lombardy.
An evolving project
The 2022 Social Value Analysis, which has reached its fourth edition this year, thanks to the survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers, is a continuously evolving project that includes the voice of various stakeholders: from associations to the managers of Multidisciplinary Senology Centers, to representatives institutional, administrative or healthcare, with regional responsibilities up to the presidents of the scientific societies involved in the treatment of women, who attest to how listening to the voice of patients is also crucial for the evolution of scientific research. All decisive voices to enhance the work of breast care volunteers. “As the Lombardy Region we have always attributed enormous social value to voluntary associations and in particular to those of patients, such as Europa Donna – states the President of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana. It is no coincidence that we have included them within the healthcare reform, involving them in the definition of therapeutic care plans and all prevention activities, which in the case of breast cancer are fundamental. To defeat the battle against cancer we need to work as a network: institutions and the third sector. For this reason we plan to collaborate actively with Europa Donna, as we already do with other associations present in Lombardy”.
The commitment of Europa Donna Italia
“It is an honor for us to bring this analysis to institutional tables which effectively summarizes the commitment of associations in this sector in Italy – he explains Rosanna D’Antona, President of Europa Donna Italia – We have always been involved in awareness, advocacy and information campaigns with the aim of making patients’ needs heard at the tables where decisions for citizens’ health are made. We thank President Fontana and his team – continues D’Antona – for the attention he has dedicated to us and for recognizing how the world of volunteering represents an important asset in our society, capable of achieving tangible results and constructive relationships”.
The Europa Donna Italia Delegation was represented by Rosanna D’Antona, President; Loredana Pau, Vice President; Corrado Tinterri (coordinator of the Europa Donna Italia Technical Scientific Committee); Mara Viti, Vice President of the Amiche per mano di Bergamo association and Councilor of Europa Donna Italia; Daniela Bossi (President of ANDOS Milan); and Gaia Giussani (PwC Italy).
The meeting was also an opportunity to take stock of the three aspects on which Europa Donna Italia operates: support for the local Breast Unit network, organized mammography screening, which sees the Lombardy Region employed in the new Prenota Salute service, and the path dedicated to Metastatic Breast Cancer, (which affects over 8,000 in Lombardy and more than 45,000 in Italy). A point that was taken up with openness and willingness to collaborate by the Region’s managers present at the meeting.
Volunteering in Lombardy
The network of associations affiliated with Europa Donna Italia includes 31 associations in the Lombardy Region, spread across almost all the provinces and very active in the territory, in which they carry out widespread activity both in spreading the culture of prevention for early diagnosis and supporting patients with breast cancer in breast centers and in the local area. There are many volunteers from these local associations and they are indispensable in improving the treatment path of many patients. This year too, Europa Donna’s report on the analysis of the social value generated by Italian breast cancer associations was able to count on the contribution of Lombardy associations, providing a concrete overview of their work and impact on the community.
Over the course of the year, approximately 9 million euros in funds were raised, a notable increase compared to the 5.7 of the previous year, which proved to be fundamental for supporting and developing the activities of the associations. The associations of Lombardy made use of the contribution of 93 employees, an increase of approximately 12% compared to that of 2021. They were also able to count on the consultancy of 320 external experts who contributed with their expertise to enrich the work of the associations allowing for a more complete and effective approach.
A significant aspect of the associations’ work is given by the participation of volunteers: the Lombard associations recorded the participation of 1,504 volunteers, approximately 7% more than the previous year, in contrast to the national average which has been declining in recent years.
Through their awareness-raising activities, the Region’s associations reached 51,501 women in 2022, more than double the previous year. Additionally, the number of non-patient women who attended association events also dramatically increased, from 7,630 in 2021 to 35,030 this year. The visits and meetings held amounted to 15,849, more than 50% compared to 2021.
Finally, the associations purchased 219 treatment instruments such as scalpels, cooling helmets, prostheses, wigs and 42 diagnostic instruments such as ultrasounds, probes, mammographs. The year 2022 has been a period of notable growth and success for associations in the Lombardy Region. Through increased staff, funds raised, collaboration with external consultants and the commitment of volunteers, the associations have been able to expand their reach and have a significant impact on the lives of many women.
Volunteering in Italy
The 2022 Social Value Analysis at a national level highlights the presence of more than 6,200 people (volunteers included). The commitment of the network which boasts approximately 5,600 volunteers – often women who have survived a cancer diagnosis – has resulted in fundraising exceeding €15,000,000, and more than 63,000 women reached by early diagnosis activities. The data also continues with 257,000 hours of volunteering, more than 90,000 people reached in the year through prevention awareness campaigns and Multidisciplinary Treatment Centers and in the organization of over 54,000 visits carried out through fundraising. These are examples that only partially reflect the vitality and professionalism of the commitment of the volunteers involved, capable of deeply understanding what the needs are to deal with the disease in all its dramatic aspects and of reporting them to the institutional decision-makers.