Parachuting into politics

In the 16 years since Matteo Dall'Osso was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he has written a book, parachuted and become an MP. The Local looks at how the Five Star Movement politician has fought back against the disease.

Parachuting into politics
Matteo Dall'Osso was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 19. Photo: Giovanni Favia/Flickr

Who is Matteo Dall’Osso?

He is a 35-year-old MP from Bologna. Dall’Osso was elected to parliament earlier this year, representing the Five Star Movement (M5S) in the Emilia-Romagna region.

Why is he in the news?

Late last night Dall’Osso was giving a speech in parliament when he lost track of his words and was mocked by fellow MPs. Italian politicians behaving badly is nothing new, but jeering at Dall’Osso in particular was seen as reprehensible.

This is because, aged 19, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease which attacks the nerves, with symptoms including fatigue, sight problems and muscle weakness.

Speaking in parliament is a huge accomplishment for Dall’Osso and fellow M5S politician Giulia Di Vita hit back at his critics, slamming the interruption as “shameful” and “disgusting”.

How has multiple sclerosis affected Dall’Osso?

Severely. At one point he couldn’t walk or coordinate his left hand, he was unable to control his urine and suffered from “an unbelievable weariness”, Dall’Osso said in his book, We win. My story against Multiple Sclerosis.

How did he recover?

After countless tests over a number of years, doctors found that Dall’Orso lacks a gene which allows his liver to break down toxins.

The first breakthrough came a decade ago when he went to Germany and had tooth fillings removed; he instantly felt better as the metal had been poisoning his body.

But there have been extreme high and low points for Dall’Orso in recent years; at one point he said he was taken to the local police as he parents believed he was mentally unstable after refusing treatment.

In time, Dall’Orso received more specialized treatment and his health has improved significantly in recent years.

“In the summer of 2007 I was reborn!” he said, celebrating his improved heath with a parachute jump.

Was Dall’Osso able to work before he became an MP?

Yes. He has a degree in electrical engineering and until February worked as a system and hardware designer on train and subway projects. He has also set up a voluntary association to promote research into metal poisoning.

How else does he spend his time?

Dall’Osso appears to be exceptionally energetic. In addition to football and swimming, he is also interested in martial arts and motorcycling. He also dedicates time to his blog, aptly named Life is Amazing!

Watch a video about Matteo Dall’Osso’s life (in Italian): 

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Anti-vaxxers not welcome here, says gelateria owner

The owner of a gelateria in the North of Italy has sparked heated debate after he displayed a sign outside his ice cream parlour telling anti-vaccination campaigners they are not welcome there.

Anti-vaxxers not welcome here, says gelateria owner
Photo: ezoom100/Depositphotos

“Free-vax, no-vax, you are a danger to the community you live in,” reads the sign outside Cremeria Spinola in the town of Chiavari in Genova, the text of which was also posted to the shop’s Facebook page.

“Your innocent children should be kept out of the schools where, in addition to their own lives, they will put at risk the lives of almost 10,000 immunosuppressed children who can’t get vaccinated.”

“I don’t want your homicidal laws in my country and I don’t need your money. You're not welcome in my ice cream parlour” the notice concludes.

The gelateria's owner, Matteo Spinola, 43, told La Repubblica that he does not have children of his own but that he shares the concerns of his friends who do have children and felt that he could not keep silent after Italy's mandatory vaccination law was overturned this week.

The Milleproroghe decree, approved by the Italian Senate on Monday, weakens the Lorenzin decree of July 2017, which made it compulsory for children under 16 to be vaccinated against ten common diseases before they were allowed to enroll in school.

For the coming school year Italian children will be able to attend school without their parents providing proof of vaccination.

Vaccination has become a divisive issue in Italy in recent months, with several key figures in the country's populist Five Star Movement-League coalition government expressing scepticism about its value.

Davide Barillari, a Five Star Movement councillor for the region of Lazio, came under fire for writing a Facebook post on Monday in which he posed the question “When was it decided that science was more important than politics?”, and declared “Politics comes before science.”

Italy’s Five Star Movement Health Minister Giulia Grillo raised eyebrows for telling Corriere della Sera in an interview yesterday that deaths from measles was something Italy would have to accept, saying, “You can not delude people that nobody will die. We must be realistic.”