For many years Giorgio Fornasier has been studying, organising and transcribing documents of the archives of Limana Parish Church near Venice in Italy.
He started this important work as volunteer following the increasing demand of certificates coming from descendants of emigrants all over the world. The majority of these requests are from Brazil where many Limana citizens went at the end of the 19th Century and who now need these certificates to apply for an Italian Passport. While doing this service, Giorgio realised the archive was a real treasure of precious historical information about his community.
Most of the old books are readable except very few pages damaged by humidity. They are all hand written by priests using ink and pen-nib and the oldest ones are written in Latin and sometimes a mixed language between Italian and local dialect. The first book reporting birth is dated 1553 and some books between 1550 and 1680 have been lost. However, it is possible to reconstruct the history of families from 1684 until today and this is the huge work Giorgio is carrying on with the help of his wife Maurizia, who had become an expert in reading the complex old priests’ writing.
Giorgio has now scanned all pages of books from 1552 to 1819 to be able to study them carefully and preserve them at the same time. He has in his computer over 1000 pictures.
Giorgio and Maurizia’s son Daniele was born in 1976 with Prader-Willi Syndrome and after a few years they joined the newly established Italian PWS Association. Knowing his international experience, the Association asked him to be their Parent Delegate at international IPWSO conferences. In Oslo (Norway) in 1995 he was elected as member of IPWSO Board with the charge of international promotion and later as IPWSO Treasurer. During the 3rd International PWS Conference held in Jesolo (Italy) in 1998 he was elected as IPWSO President. Giorgio served as IPWSO President for two mandates until 2004 and today he works for IPWSO as Executive Director.
Giorgio Fornasier dedicates most of his time to this mission, managing daily business of the IPWSO office and participating with educational booths to major Scientific Conferences and Meetings all over the world, meeting also physicians and families with children affected by this syndrome.
Giorgio Fornasier in Bangalore (India) together with IPWSO President Prof. S. Cassidy
and members of the Indian PWS Association.
IPWSO office email traffic is more than 5,000 messages a year and often require immediate answers especially to desperate parents asking for information and words of hope. Since the year 2000 IPWSO office has been based at the Baschirotto Institute for Rare Diseases (BIRD) thanks to the close friendship he has with Mrs and Mr Baschirotto, who offered also the services of their genetic Molecular Laboratory. Since 2003 IPWSO has been able to offer an international free diagnosis service for poor and undeveloped countries.
He always offers his music skill to IPWSO in Italy and abroad, performing many charity concerts to raise funds. In 2001 he composed the music of a Hymn for the organisation with lyrics written by Linda Thornton from New Zealand.
Here below you can find the text of this song both in English and Spanish and also a recording of its performance.
In August 2004, Giorgio Fornasier visited Germany together with the new IPWSO President Mrs. Pamela Eisen from United States. The president of the local PWS association invited both of them for lunch at his home, so they had the opportunity to meet his daughter, Annika. She was 11 years old then and the parents told us she did not talk, except two words she was repeating continuously calling our attention and pulling our sleeves. She was saying: “Ich auch”, which in English means “me too”.
She was doing that gently and smiling as if she wanted to say “I am here, I exist, do not forget me!” This so touched Pam and Giorgio, that they were inspired to capture the moment in song, with Pam writing the lyrics and Giorgio composing the music. This touching song reminds us all of the precious nature of life.
Ich auch, me too, anch’io, yo también,
dear mama, dear papa help me be me!
Help me to grow, help me to be
part of this world I deserve… you will see.
When I was born you were in despair,
but I was looking for someone to care:
I am your child, I am the same
as all the children so don’t be ashamed.
Ich auch, me too, anch’io, moi aussi,
dear mama, dear papa, what do you say?
“With us you’ll grow! Be as you are:
part of this world that you love with your heart.
When you were born we gave you our love;
you were our angel, a star from above.
I am your mother, I am your dad,
we are so proud of the child that we had.
Wir auch … we too!
This composition became popular all over the world and many associations caring for abandoned or suffering children have adopted it. On September the 30th, 2009 Giorgio Fornasier was invited to perform this song during a huge Charity Concert in London, where Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits was guest too.
This is a live recording of “Ich auch” performed by Giorgio in 2010
Video "Ich Auch"
In the autumn of 2005 this song was used to create awareness in the general population and authorities in Paraguay about the tragic reality of “Children who do not exist”. Children born in far away poor villages of the interior of this country are often not registered so they cannot expect anything from the Government in the future and cannot even have documents. The statistics give the percentage of unknown children at nearly 13%. Maestro Luis Szarán, conductor of the Asuncion Symphonic Orchestra, after listening to his friend Giorgio’s composition, organised a special and unique concert in the Cathedral of Asunción (Paraguay) called “Concierto para los niños que no existen” (Concert for children who do not exist), with an orchestra of 500 children, most of them unknown to the authorities. At the end of the concert with the great emotion of all the audience Giorgio sang “Yo también” (Ich auch) accompanied by this extraordinary group of young musicians.
Since that memorable concert with this song as its symbol, the awareness and interest in this problem increased and many organisations and politicians have started working hard to find a solution. In less than one year they succeeded in registering more than 100,000 children …leaving in the air the echo of the chord of a song born by chance. Giorgio keeps all this in a special corner of his heart and thanks that little girl from Germany who repeatedly told him... “ich auch”, me too!