Local awards honor Italian teen who cares for sick parents and sister.
It wasn’t always this way for his family. Roberto had a normal childhood, until a degenerative joint disease began to handicap his mother. As the disease progressed, she gradually became housebound. Meanwhile his father was diagnosed with heart disease and his younger sister with an autoimmune disorder. As the only family member free of chronic illness and pain, Roberto gradually took more and more responsibility onto his young shoulders.
Currently, Roberto’s daily work includes grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking care of his parents, and helping his sister with her homework. Despite his weighty family responsibilities, he’s managed to have an enjoyable and active personal life, earning excellent grades and playing on a soccer team until recently. His exceptional empathy has earned attention outside his home; his municipality, Spino d’Adda, recently honored him with the title of “citizen of the year.”
But Roberto doesn’t think he is anything out of the ordinary. Caring for his family is a source of joy for him.
“This is my happiness,” he says. “I’m a normal kid.”
Roberto’s story is a valuable reminder that happiness is found through serving others rather than ourselves. Perhaps the world would benefit from more young people like Roberto.
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