Paola's challenge is performing on a stage dancing and singing
Challenge: Singing / acting performance
Role in journey: Actor
Hi, my name is Paola and I live in a small town near Rome. When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with haemophilia, which prevented me from leading a normal childhood due to the many bleeds.
Despite living with this disease wasn’t easy, thanks to my passion for music and writing, I have become stronger, braver, and I have never stopped fighting to reach my goals.
Today I’m a mother of two, and I have a new great challenge ahead of me: performing on a stage dancing and singing.
My motto? Growing old is a privilege.
My first coaching meeting with the great Luca Ward has been a whirlwind of contrasting emotions. I realized that I wasn’t dreaming. I was living. I was just on the eve of my 50th year, and the evaluation I thought I had already made of my life was getting richer and more colorful, without notice. That Paola was ageless now. As if I had been granted some precious time.
Luca immediately made me feel comfortable. We read the script of “Mamma Mia!”, between jokes in our roman dialect to downplay my excitement and a lot of serious and meticulous dedication. The role of Donna was perfect for me and I started loving it since the very beginning.
My role as a Liberator had just begun! My grit was guiding me, not my fragile, destabilizing ankles. Not anymore. “Full speed ahead, Paola!” I told myself.
Here we are at the second meeting with Luca, my coach. How great, today we’ve started to put together prose and music.
First of all, choose the most intense and appropriate scenes. "S.0.S" revisited in Italian as well as the beautiful "The Winner takes it all". Needless to say, the famous Abba have won again.
Goosebumps and magic. Here we go, the dream is coming true! I’m happy! Too happy! I’m heading home from this second meeting feeling over the moon!
Aprilia, July 2019
It’s really hot! But “The show must go on”! And it’s the third one!
I wish there could be a thousand meetings with my coach, Luca Ward. Because, although I’m anxious for the outcome of my challenge, in the wonder of waiting there is the awareness that it will be really hard to enjoy such a privilege again in life.
From the second I get into my car to reach the studios in Rome, I savour every single moment slowly to imprint it and slot it in the puzzle of the most beautiful memories of my life.
Today we are going to act and sing. The scenes take shape and life. Music thrills and inspires. We’re almost there, or well, at least I feel a little more confident. “Donna” is really starting to take Paola’s place
Some people love August because of the well-deserved rest and summer holidays. I wished August would have ended right away. I missed Luca’s classes. I’ve been in a state of anxiety and fear. Wherever I was, I would sing and rehears; I think I was taken for a fool!
But what about this heart galloping at the very thought of my challenge, who can stop it? No one can! And September has finally come!
With the awareness that the finish line, looking closely, peeps out sneakily and the magic of the adrenaline impetuous! Last rehearsals with Luca, who besides being my coach is now a dear friend. I couldn’t wait to show him my performance because I didn’t need to look at the script anymore - I had finally memorized it.
Luca taught me how to move, explaining me that the audience at the Theatre is defined as the "fourth wall" to which we always address without giving it away. Spontaneity first. I was really "Donna", the protagonist, but my own "Donna", not copied from others, my own version of her, the one I felt, the one who fits Paola.
When parting from Luca I could hardly hold back my tears. Our last meeting meant that the dream was coming true and I did not want to end up being happy only in my imaginary world or in memories, as often happens, but in the very present moment. I was happy in that very moment! I am happy now! Milano is waiting for me!
I don't know how things will turn out, but I know that I’m up to the challenge and that I’m going to give the best of me. Thanks again to those who believed in me. With all my love.
September 11, 2019, I just jumped on the train that will take me to Milan, with a suitcase full of clothes carefully chosen, hoping they are the right picks for my performance. It’s only two days until my debut and I still can’t believe it. My coach, Luca Ward, told me to keep calm but, above all, to be myself. He also said that I will turn into "Donna" without even realizing it. A character that I have studied so much and felt as my own.
I’ve finally met Giacomo Buccheri, the actor who plays the role of "Sam" in "Mamma mia!", the show that we will bring on stage. I immediately liked him, as he can put me at ease and be really supportive.
With these high heels, I can’t even feel my ankles that miraculously hold me up. And this is also my miracle: emotion and adrenaline mixed with the awareness that I’m living my dream. And after a long trip from Rome, here comes my family, while I am being miked up. We hug tightly.
The time has come, the stage is waiting for me, masterfully directed by great women: Laura Campanello, Michela Mantovan, and Carolyn Smith. I behave like if I am in a living room with friends, but in reality I am in a theatre packed to the ceiling: some spectators are even standing and others could not get in because all the seats were sold out!
Giacomo and I act and sign as if there’s just the two of us! An incredible applause awakens me from this dream and I see lots of people showing me all their love. Drunk with joy and amazing sensations, I go through my first interview of which, I swear, I can’t remember a single question!
I made it! Even this challenge has been a success! But I couldn’t have overcome this challenge on my own. There were people who believed in me and inspired me with strength and determination.
Thank you, Liberate Life. Memories are worth a whole lifetime and no one, not even in 100 years, will be able to take these memories away from me.
Dislcaimer: Before starting your own physical challenge, it is important to discuss it with your treatment team first.
It is possible to live a life beyond haemophilia.
Download ‘My Voice, My Care’ to understand how to get the most out of conversations with your care team.