H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies kindly shared with HelloMonaco in the exclusive interview the essence of his fundraising on-line initiative that he launched to support “hospitals with the least resources and needed to increase their equipment” and also shared his piece of wisdom on how we can move on in this period of pandemic when to be together and solidary is so important as well as to “try to have a positive and hopeful attitude at all times”.
HelloMonaco: How was this idea of the online platform start?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: Due to the Covid-19 situation I was deeply troubled by the health emergency which was causing many deaths all over the world and especially in Italy. Therefore, I decided to make a personal commitment to support Italy. During this difficult moment Italian citizens were suffering, including those working on the front lines of the crisis in hospitals. This led me to focus my energies into the creation of a new on-line initiative.
HelloMonaco: Which hospitals will receive this financial aid in the first place? How do you choose the hospitals to which the funds should be collected?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: Through the Constantinian Order Charity Onlus and its online platform www.constantinianorder.charity I launched a fundraising initiative whereby the donations that we received were distributed among hospitals with the least resources and needed to increase their equipment and intensive care capacity. We mainly focused on the territories where there was a real emergency so that the impact of our support would help to intervene against the spread of Сovid-19. With the evolution of the pandemic, my attention was focused on alleviating the pressure on the most vulnerable hospitals. The first beneficiaries of our donations were the hospitals in Southern Italy: namely, the hospital “Cotugno” in Naples, “Civic Hospital” of Partinico, “Cannizzaro Hospital” of Catania, “S.Marta e S.Venera” Hospital of Acireale, “Pugliese Ciaccio” Hospital in Catanzaro, Hospital “San Carlo” in Potenza, the Local Health Authorities of Bari and Foggia, the Local Health Unit of Lanciano Vasto and Chieti and “Monsignor Di Liegro” Diagnostic Centre in Gaeta.
HelloMonaco: What is the difference between your project and others that have been launched already, also aiming to fundraise in profit of the hospitals?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: I am aware of other initiatives that were launched to support Italy’s most affected hospitals, but I was deeply concerned about establishments where the spread of the epidemic and the lack of intensive care equipment may have created even more dramatic consequences. That was the main reason that guided me in the decisions I have taken and differentiates the actions of the Constantinian Order Charity Onlus from other projects.
HelloMonaco: Why did you decide to donate to the Princess Grace Hospital of Monaco?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: In order to widen the beneficiaries of our donations, I also decided to support the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco. Helping them seemed so natural to me because my family lives in Monaco. We have had the opportunity to support this hospital in the past and like many people living in the Principality, we wanted to continue helping. My family and I know the General Director of the Hospital very well and through our own experiences we have developed a great respect for the professionalism and skills of the whole staff and therefore I felt it was the right thing to do.
HelloMonaco: Do you have a final sum that you aim to fundraise using this platform?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: I did not want to set financial goals. I have however encouraged all Knights and Dames of the Constantinian Order of Saint George to donate as much as they could because every single Euro donated represents a glimmer of hope and a small drop of life that can help us overcome this adversity. The first 50.000 euros have already been allocated. So far, we have raised €230.445. Solidarity is an immense force. We were able to join together and help each other and I am so proud of it and I sincerely thank all the people that contributed to these donations and for their kind generosity.
HelloMonaco: What are the first successes of your project? Have some hospitals already received aid thanks to the funds that the platform has collected?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: We started our fundraising almost two months ago. Since then, the Italian hospitals that I mentioned earlier received the donations they were expected to get. All of them sent me a “thank you letter” for which I am sincerely grateful, but I believe these sentiments should be addressed to all the donors who contributed to help the hospitals.
HelloMonaco: To which purposes hospitals spend mainly these funds?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: These funds were mainly used to meet the doctors’ as well as the patients’ needs. First of all, our donations helped hospitals to create more space in the intensive care units dedicated to Covid-19 patients. These donations also served to further enrich those hospitals’ technological equipment, providing more-qualified instruments in the diagnosis and care of positive cases. Medical treatment of patients has been highly improved. Secondly, huge quantities of FFP2 masks that helped staff to cope with their daily tasks with greater safety for themselves and their families were delivered. A diagnostic centre was built in Gaeta and an Epidemic Intelligence Centre was launched in Bari. These donations have given hospitals a strong impulse to tackle the situation with more confidence and allowed an overall improvement in the functionality of the structure to help meet the citizens’ expectations.
HelloMonaco: When the epidemic will be long gone, do you plan to transform this platform into another charitable project or will you close it then when its goal is fulfilled?
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies: Our fundraising will come to an end soon but the platform we have used to launch it will stay visible on our website. It will always be a tangible evidence of the collaboration and generosity of our Knights and Dames, too. Let me also reveal that we will use this platform as a tool for new fundrasings and initiatives in order to support those who need it, ranging from projects with a limited territorial impact to international projects, which will be identified and shared each time. It is essential to always be cautious, as declared by the international scientific community. Everybody should keep following the instructions provided by the authorities and try to have a positive and hopeful attitude at all times. We know we have experienced a radical and difficult social change, but I am confident and appreciate the efforts and the huge work our doctors are carrying out to find a vaccine quickly. In these early stages of coexistence with the virus, we have to adapt and postpone most of our daily and ordinary activities, which have been drastically reduced; as a result, a part of our life and commitments have been limited. We can therefore dedicate more time to our families and rediscover the beauty and importance of staying with our dear ones.