Giorgia Testa, the love of music and the normalization of scars: a story of strength – The Wom

do1996, born in Bergamo but raised in the province of Varese, George Testa is a writer, singer, producer and president of the non-profit association “La Musica del Cuore”, dedicated to social inclusion

Suffering from congenital heart disease, Giorgia Testa was only 3 days old when she had to undergo her first operation. Today he tells us his story, his commitment and how he turned the scars into symbols of strength and hope.

Hi Giorgia, can you share with us your personal story and how you dealt with surgeries as a child?

My mother was diagnosed with heart disease when she was seven months pregnant. In fact, I was born with pulmonary atresia with an intact diaphragm. They even suggested that she proceed with terminating the pregnancy: nevertheless, I was born. At only 3 days old I had my first operation, with 45 days of intensive care. My mother couldn’t even hold me. I had another operation when I was three and a half months old, but the last operation was when I was 11 and is the one I remember the most.

Giorgia, how did you discover your passion for art and how did you use music and theater to express yourself and raise awareness?

I’ll tell you a nice anecdote. I was born after 14 hours of labor. The nurses, exasperated, played a 6.5 hour long Celtic song for me to be born, and so I was born. But this passion was born when I was young. As I grew older, I tried to manage my anger and found the words I couldn’t say in songs. In the last surgery, afraid I might not survive, I sang to pass the time and not think. Art literally saved my life.

In your book “Behind my scars” you touch on the subject of scars and the importance of eliminating prejudices. How did you find the strength to share your story through the book?

Writing this book was a journey, because it developed in conjunction with my psychological journey. It was all thanks to Leonardo, a dear friend who is no longer here today and who I talk about a lot in the book. He was the first person who didn’t make me feel different about my scars, when I tended to hide them. I was embarrassed. Now, instead, my goal is to normalize them on a social level, and the best way to educate on a certain topic is to tell what is behind it. Scars are a symbol of life.

How was it born and what are the goals of your association “The music of the heart”?

When I was in America I said to my mother: “When I’m rich I want to create a foundation that will give children in America the opportunity to pay for surgeries!” Then this dream faded, because I was no longer in America but in Italy and it was the period of Covid. So, talking to my psychologist as well, I realized that I should try to help the people I could help. As I thought, I thought that as a child I felt very alone in the post-hospital period.

In the hospital everyone is the same, but when you leave you experience a collision with reality

So my goal was to give kids who felt alone in recovery a chance and give them a space where they could talk, discuss and feel safe. I am also trying to develop a piece of the psychological path because I realized that there is a lack of support in the “after”.

How does the club “La Musica del Cuore” support children with heart disease and their families in the post-surgery period and what messages of inclusion does the club try to spread in schools?

We work with both children with heart disease and those without, through two separate pathways. With children with heart disease we are working with people involved within the hospitals to reach the departments with online meetings for both children and parents. For children without heart disease, however, I try to raise awareness of the value of uniqueness in schools to educate about diversity. Only by starting with children and training them to empathize and listen can we create a better society. We also use social media a lot, as I studied fine arts and created a series of photo shoots featuring scars. I also do a podcast about it.

Do you have any tips or messages to share with others with congenital heart disease or who have visible scars?

Even when things seem impossible, there is a way to make it possible if you really want to

My friend Leonardo always said this phrase. We children with heart disease are often told that there is not much we can do, but it is up to us to try and fight to live our lives to the fullest.

Plans for the future?

For Christmas we are doing the project “Adopt a Puppet”. The aim is to create puppets in the shape of a giraffe (the giraffe was a stuffed animal given to me by my parents before my last operation) that people can donate – by also writing a message – to the pediatric surgery department of both the hospital in Bergamo and and some hospitals in Milan. The idea is to give children a message of hope. We are also organizing a gala evening to raise money for the cardiac surgery department in Bergamo.

If someone wants to support you, where can they find more information?

All our projects can be found on the website All proceeds from the books will go to the club.

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