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Bridging Gaps, Building Hope
The Inspiring Journey of St. Stephen’s Young Friends of Gemelli

In 2022, St. Stephen’s students Raphaella Guerrand-Hermes, Francesco Diaz della Vittoria Pallavicini, and Federico Mattia Manzo, alongside other local high school students, established a charity for the renowned Polyclinico Gemelli Hospital in Rome. Their non-profit, Young Friends of Gemelli, addresses the gap between the resources allocated by the hospital budget and the genuine needs of patients.

Through creative initiatives over the last two years, their charity has strived to enhance the patient experience by promoting a holistic approach to healthcare and fostering a compassionate, patient-centered environment:

The Impact of a Toy Drive
Their journey began with a simple gesture—a Christmas Toy Drive. The Young Friends collected over three hundred toys and books, which they distributed to brighten the holidays for over forty-five children in the pediatric department of Gemelli Hospital. This act of kindness not only brought smiles to young faces but laid the foundation for future projects.

Investing in Patient Wellbeing
Recognizing the importance of play and family interaction during hospitalization, the Young Friends have been working towards creating a dedicated children's activity and wellbeing room within the pediatrics department. This space aims to provide a playful environment where children can find solace and connect with their families during their medical journey.

Embracing Technological Advancements
Understanding the emotional impact of cancer treatment, the Young Friends committed to bringing a cold cap system to the Gemelli ART (Radiation Oncology Department). Through fundraising and private partnerships, they secured $34,000, empowering chemotherapy patients to preserve their hair and boost their self-esteem. This initiative highlights their dedication to utilizing technology to enhance patient experiences.

Nourishing the Future
The Young Friends are planning to establish a breast milk bank in collaboration with the hospital. This vital resource will benefit premature and vulnerable babies, offering them the crucial nutrients they need to thrive.

Art for Healing
Seeking innovative ways to bring wellbeing and inspiration to patients, the Young Friends are partnering with the renowned MAXXI Museum. This collaboration will bring unique video art installations to the hospital, creating a space for reflection and emotional connection through the power of art.

Building a Home Away from Home
Recognizing the challenges families of out-of-town patients face, the Young Friends support the "Casa Gemelli" project. This initiative envisions a six-room building offering free accommodation to families, allowing them to stay close to their loved ones during their medical journey.

More Than Just Volunteers

The Young Friends of Gemelli transcend the definition of volunteers. They are passionate advocates, problem-solvers, and compassionate students dedicated to making a difference. By working hand-in-hand with the Gemelli leadership, they contribute to shaping the future of patient care, ensuring that the hospital remains a center of medical expertise and a space of warmth, comfort, and hope.

For more information and to donate to Young Friends of Gemelli, please visit their website:

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