Cammino (2) Rome

EMERGENCY, an Italian humanitarian NGO co-founded by Gino Strada, believes that access to high-quality healthcare is a basic human right.


In January 2009, EMERGENCY saved my life.IMG_1419 This year, EMERGENCY  celebrates its 25th anniversary.

In collaboration with EMERGENCY, and in gratitude, I will be raising funds by walking from Pavia to Rome, along the Via Francigena.

You too can make a difference to individuals whose lives are stake, by supporting EMERGENCY’s life-saving mission.


Since its founding in 1994, EMERGENCY, a Milan-based humanitarian organisation has been helping civilian victims of war and poverty. Since establishing its first project in Rwanda, the staff and volunteers of EMERGENCY have provided free and high-quality medical treatment and care in 18 countries; including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Eritrea, and Cambodia. They have built hospitals, surgical centres, rehabilitation centres, paediatric centres, first aid posts, health centres, clinics and mobile clinics, a maternity centre and a cardiac surgery center. They have also contributed to the restructuring and the equipping of existing health facilities. And they continue to advocate for global peace.

To date, EMERGENCY has treated 10 million patients.

In 2015, Gino Strada, one of the founders of EMERGENCY, accepted the Right Livelihood Award in Stockholm—the ‘alternative Nobel Prize Award’—created to “honor and support those who offer practical and exemplary responses to the major challenges of our time.” Shortly after, EMERGENCY was also awarded the Sunhak Peace Prize—an annual award, recognizing individuals and organizations who have distinguished themselves for their important contribution to peace and human development.

To see EMERGENCY’s work in action, please watch the trailer for OPEN HEART; the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind and embark on a life or death journey to receive high-risk open-heart surgery at the Salam Centre. In 2013, “Open Heart” was nominated for the Academy Awards in the “Documentary Short” category.


January 2009. I had been traveling solo around Southeast Asia, en route to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, when I stopped off in Battambang. The day before Chinese New Year, I was riding a bicycle when I spotted a bridge crossing the Sangker River; a bridge that was meant to be closed for repairs; a bridge that was dangerously reopened by locals; a bridge that I tried to cycle over, but instead fell through, landing 10 meters below. I was found intact, but gravely fractured.

Miraculously, the bridge was situated a 7-minute drive away from The Ilaria Alpi Surgical Centre for War Victims (now under new ownership, and known as World Mate Emergency Hospital)the only centre founded by EMERGENCY in all of Southeast Asia.

I was not a civilian victim of war, landmines or poverty, but rather a traveler—in the wrong place at the wrong time. Found in an unconscious state on a riverbank, I was taken by locals to EMERGENCYs trauma centre. Aside from a mild head injury and nerve damage, my lower spine and sacrum were broken in several places and dislocated—which explains my (invisible) disabilities; I’m unable to sit and I cannot carry a heavy load.

During my first week of acute recovery in the oasis-like facility, I was treated and tended to (*for free*) by an international team of European and Khmer medical professionals; an Ethiopian radiologist read my scans and an Italian logistician arranged for my transfer to Thailand. When plans could be arranged, I was driven overland, by ambulance to Bangkok Hospital—where I would remain for another month before being medi-vacked, by jet, back to Canada.

In 2011, burdened with PTSD and a desperate need for answers, I returned to Battambang – and EMERGENCY – where I volunteered for nearly two months in the children’s ward. There, I also met the cleaning supervisor, and her husband, a medic: Ten years earlier, he had carried my limp body up the hill to safety, and transported me to the centre.

Shaken up from the experience, and with my body in need of warmth and solace,  I detoured to Bali—in search of traditional healers. Then, in 2013, I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain—for an extended period of healing, forest-bathing, and self-inquiry.

2019 marks one decade since my disastrous fall off the bridge in Cambodia; ten years since I spent a week under the care of EMERGENCY. It is time to give back and spread the word!

Won’t you please join us in honouring EMERGENCY’s auspicious milestone by supporting their urgent cause?


The Cammino (2) Rome: Supporting EMERGENCY’s achievements and ongoing commitment to the cause of global peace.

>>Our goal is to raise at least USD $250,000<<<

With these funds, EMERGENCY will continue its lifesaving mission of supporting programs that are sustainable long-term; and establishing medical facilities that provide high-standard, specialized treatment to civilians living in zones of conflict or politically unstable countries around the world.

Among the many projects your funding will support (list to be updated):

  • Improvements to the Surgical Centre for War Victims in Lashkar-gah Afghanistan;
  • Increased funding of First Aid Posts in remote Afghani villages;
  • More specialized training of Afghani cardiac and trauma surgeons;
  • Purchasing of new medical and trauma equipment, featuring cutting-edge technologies;
  • Expanding health and emergency services to remote areas of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, DR Congo, Iraq;
  • Extending the Anabah Medical-Surgical hospital in the Panjshir Valley, which hosts the only specialised and free of charge maternal facility of its kind in the area;
  • Upgrading the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum; the only hospital of its kind in an area inhabited by over 300 million people, to offer high quality assistance to patients with congenital and acquired surgical diseases;
  • Supporting continued renovations of the Paediatric Centre in Nyala, capital of the state of South Darfur.

We are actively looking for:

*Corporate sponsors – in cash or in kind. All sponsor levels include name/logo on website and publicity.

* EMERGENCY staff and volunteers – to organize local events and offer accommodation.

*Explorers, adventurers and pilgrims – to walk with us on this meaningful journey of gratitude and peace. Please consider a minimum donation (of USD$100, or its equivalent) to EMERGENCY.

> Exact dates TBA. (Tentative departure from Pavia: September 7, 2019; reaching Rome by early October)

You too can make a huge difference, by supporting these humanitarian efforts. Please share this website and spread the word on social media! Email and invite friends to donate. Sponsor a team of walkers! Become a champion for this great cause.

Thank you for taking action in support of our mission!

For inquires and questions, please contact:


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