Italian of the week

Parachuting into politics

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

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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