Call for Brain

The Call for Brain event was initiated by two TEDMED ambassadors, Francesca Fedeli and Roberto D’Angelo, co-founders of #FightTheStroke.org, a non-profit association which gathers and shares the experiences of families who have been affected by all types of perinatal and pediatric stroke.

This association aims not only to raise awareness of perinatal and childhood stroke, provide support – both in terms in knowledge and emotional – to families impacted by young stroke victims, but also to apply that technology layer to medicine by nurturing the development and adoption of disruptive technologies as part of new rehabilitation techniques.

During the event all attendees watched an exclusive preview of 12 talks from the TEDMED 2014 Conference, which was paired with a workshop session and a medical hack-a-thon (H-ACK Med) thereafter.  In this non-stop marathon, IT developers, designers and marketers came together as a team to work on a healthcare-related brief provided by participating companies. The focus of this H-ACK Med was on the theme of Quantified Self.

Their story is an emotional roller coaster.

After a challenging pregnancy, first time parents Francesca and Roberto were ecstatic when their beautiful baby boy Mario was born. However 10 days after his birth, Mario suffered a stroke. The right side of his brain was damaged which affected his ability to control the left side of his body. Naturally, his parents were crushed and were left to deal with their own bitter emotions. Then, they decided that instead of being passive victims, they had to be active fighters – for the sake of Mario. They embarked Mario on the path of physiotherapy and rehabilitation based on the concept of mirror neurons. In a nutshell, the theory of mirror neurons postulates that the same neurons are activated when one performs an action as when one observes the same action done by another. There is a sweet twist to this little boy’s miraculous journey. Watch it here in this video.

Empowered by their experiences, these young parents continue to spread their testimony to the world via prestigious global stages such as TED Global (2013), Ciudad de las Ideas (2013) and Doctors 2.0 (2014), through their #FightTheStroke.org website, and social media.

This is truly a great example of digital story telling where their cause comes to live in a powerful manner because they chose to share their personal story with the world through digital media and means, and in doing so, connects with a global audience on a personal level.

While the Fight the Stroke association clearly state on their website that they are not physicians, they strongly believe that healthcare should be accessible and available to all.  A strong advocate of patient empowerment and open medicine, Francesca hopes that “through the sharing of collective intelligence via digital and social, there will be a fairer equilibrium in the patient-physician rapport in the near future.”

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