500cuori: One expat’s Fiat 500 journey to raise heart disease awareness
Letizia Cocco was 19 when she was diagnosed in 2002 with Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disease that causes tachycardia, a dangerously high heart rate.
Rather than letting this condition stop her, it made her want to seize life and live it to the full. She took this energy and determination with her from her native Italy when she moved to the Netherlands in 2006 to start life as an expat.
viaggio. cuore. passione
Now 10 years later, and a new mum, Letizia has decided to take a journey that she is calling 500cuori. This adventure that not only combines her passions for travel and vintage Fiat 500s, but also raises awareness about an issue that is very - excuse the pun - close to her heart.
The 500cuori journey
On August 7, 2016, Letizia and her father set out to drive from Gavignano (near Rome), Italy, to her Leiden home in the Netherlands, in Peppy - their bright red vintage Fiat 500. They are travelling on the slow back roads and will use the journey to discover new places, to meet new people and to tell Letizia's story!
Raising awareness about heart disease
While travelling, Letizia will work to increase awareness about genetic heart diseases and to collect funds for the Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri in Pavia, where she was diagnosed with Long QT in 2002.
Letizia says, "500cuori is for all people born with a genetic heart disease and, above all, for my daughter. 500cuori is my humble wish to tell everyone: 'Never stop dreaming!'"