Florence-based Nicco Fans Club Association was begun by Silvia and Federico Matteucci after learning that their nine-year-old son, Niccolò, was suffering from a life-threatening cancer. As Nicco faced up to a period of long and painful treatment, his parents had the idea of opening a group on Facebook – something that could take away the pain and give Nicco something to help pass the time; where their friends could offer greetings and encouragement.
From a small group of friends Nicco’s Facebook page grew to nearly 75,000 people. Seeing the interest generated towards Nicco and the other children of the Oncology/Haematology ward at the Meyer Paediatric Hospital in Florence, Silvia and Federico and their friends Irene and Giacomo had the idea of creating an association, its mission being to bring joy and a smile when everything seems lost, when the joy of living has been closed in a locked drawer and the key can no longer be found.
The association has held several fundraising events in order to raise vital funds for the Meyer Hospital, and with the support of TFWA Care, Nicco Fans Club has begun a major new project in 2015, the first of its kind in Italy.
Project in 2015
TFWA Care has supported Nicco Fans Club in the setting up of the Progetto Adolescenti (Adolescents’ Project) at the Meyer Paediatric Hospital in Florence. This project aimed to create, within the hospital, a dedicated unit for adolescents and young adults (from 14 years of age) with haematological/oncological illnesses. The multi-discipline team has been able to offer total care for the young people facing these illnesses, not just medical but also psychological and relationship-wise aspects, areas which can have a devastating impact in this particular age group.
An important part of this project was research. The hospital has worked with the University of Florence on a better understanding of the use of mesenchimali stem cells (MSC) to act as therapeutical agents with regard to the neoplastic cells themselves.
The project also aimed at curing tumours in adolescents and has been further developed as an alternative in cases where the patient does not respond to traditional treatments by using a particular type of transplant called "aploidentical” which uses parents or semi-compatible brothers and sisters as donors.
The doctors, psychologists and nurses who have been part of this project have been specially trained and the project has benefited from the collaboration of international and national specialist centres, such as the department of orthopaedic oncology in Careggi Hospital.
It is the very first time that a project of this kind has been carried out in a paediatric hospital in Italy.
Viareggio flash mob with swim in sea
Nicco and Federico
Nicco Fans Club volunteers with Nicco
Prato flash mob
Start of concert in Reggio Emilia
The start of the first Nicco village
A few gifts for the kids
Easter eggs for the ward
Lanterns from Nicco Village
Nicco Christmas village activities
Show for the ward