In September 2015 Roby, a talented accordionist, discovered to be affected by cancer.
Initially the news weighted like a stone and she is desperate. But within a few days she smiles again and she comforts all those around. She is sure to win even though the disease is in an advanced stage. It is actually out of discussion she can lose.
After a period of confusion about what to do, she decides to move to Florence where an oncologist is practicing a new technique. She moves to her girlfriend’s and starts the long struggle against the disease. Initially she responds well but after a short period of time the first side effects of radio therapy and many medications she has to take started to be felt.
She’s tired, she loses her voice and hair, she has poor eyesight and she feels cold and sleepy. She spends most of the time lying in bed and sleeping. But when she wakes up she’s always smiling as if the disease doesn’t touch her at all. She never talks about it. She hardly expresses her fears; she fights against the monster living inside her day by day without ever give up. In rare moments she fall victim of despair and she thinks she cannot win; she says to be tired or exhausted. She lives in the present but she often thinks to her music and what will happen to it. When possible she enjoys all of those moments everyday life is made of: a tea with friends, a walk in the park in a sunny day, a launch in a restaurant, a hug, some laughs…..In a few words she lives her life when the heavy treatments allow her to do it.
When I asked Roberta to photograph her along her struggle she was immediately enthusiastic about. Her way to react to this drastic change of prospective really shocked me and made me ask to myself this question “If this thing happened to me I would always be so smiley or depressed and desperate?” Obviously I cannot answer.
Following Roberta is not always easy because I live in another city and often the tiredness forced her to lay in bed and me to stop and respect her health condition.
Now Roberta feels better. Treatments are having their effect. She’s more responsive because she’s taking less medicines and she is more vital. She goes out more than before and she is more confident. She doesn’t feel anymore as the beginning: a balloon at the mercy of the wind. She’s more lucid, energetic and always brave and determined even if the road is still long and difficult to take. “Snob” as Roberta calls it requires a great strength of mind and patience but without a doubt she demonstrated to have these qualities.
My work will be following her through all the stages of her struggle until she’s come back to life and feel free from sufferance.