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Little Raffaella conquers cancer … and dances to “Jerusalema,” of course!

Little Raffaella

Santobono Pausilipon Fondazione | Facebook | Fair Use

Giovanna Binci - published on 08/12/21

This little girl's victory dance after her last cancer treatment will inspire you with her joy!

The video of this little warrior leaving the hospital in Naples after the last day of chemo has gone viral. The dance steps are those of the Jerusalema Challenge, but she’s celebrating having overcome a much more important challenge.

She walked out of the Santobono Pausillipon hospital in Naples to the notes of “Jerusalema,” keeping the rhythm with her feet and walking down the ramp with the confidence of a showgirl.

The most difficult challenge

Many people danced to last summer’s hit, and it became a popular challenge to perform these steps, but in this case, Raffaella overcame a much more important challenge: She finally completed her cycle of cancer therapies and had her PICC removed—the catheter used for long-term chemotherapy, the final stage of her treatment.

Relatives who were waiting for her outside filmed her exit from the hospital. She walked out with the medical staff who had lovingly accompanied this little girl, who always had a smile on her face, through the difficult battle against cancer.

On the Facebook page of the Santobono Pausilipon Foundation, where the video was first shared, the caption says:

“On this long journey of care we’ve learned to know and love her incredible joy and her overwhelming vitality, and despite her very young age she has taught us that you can overcome even the most difficult and painful obstacle, and that you can do it with a smile on your face. You’re a force of nature, Raffaella, and we wish you to remain exactly the special and wonderful person that you are. We love you.”

Fortunately, diseases aren’t the only thing that are contagious; even joy has a high rate of transmissibility—so high that even masks aren’t enough. So high that even from a computer or cell phone screen you feel like taking part in this family’s party, after seeing Raffaella disappearing in a cloud of pink balloons.

Even though inside that hospital there are still those who are suffering and fighting, it’s okay that, for once, the entryway became a stage from which to sing and dance with the joy of hope, which reaches even where there is still silence.

And when the music ends?

The signs of the battle can still be read on Raffaella’s little body and certainly, something will remain in her heart, but “show must go on.” This little warrior is only beginning a new adventure, for which “Jerusalema” is a perfect opening theme!

Sometimes in life, you turn off the music right after the most beautiful song. Silence surrounds around us. “When you suffer you don’t speak: you cry and pray in silence,” Pope Francis said in 2016 when speaking about the suffering of children.

In the presence of Someone

But children, unlike us adults, not only “dance as if no one is watching”; I’d say they dance even when there isn’t any music. They hum to themselves, walk around the room, make strange moves seen by who knows who and who knows exactly where, and it doesn’t matter if there’s total silence or if there’s no one there to appreciate the show.

When the music and the joy end, even when it happens in our own lives—when silence and suffering come—we should learn from children how to keep dancing despite everything. The day will come when, as for little Raffaella, someone will set up the speakers and we’ll hear that music again, but in the meantime, we won’t have forgotten how to dance.

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