Daniela Bazzana left her job and family — including young son, Giorgio — for a month to provide nursing care to elderly people suffering at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. She missed Giorgio’s eighth birthday.
Bazzana is a technician at Micron’s facility in Vimercate and does preliminary electrical analysis on automotive MNAND returned from customers. She is highly regarded for her tenacity, hard work and suggestions for new solutions.
Her passion for helping others is inspiring to her team members.
“All her colleagues are really proud to work with such a courageous and, let me say, crazy lady, and we were worried about her safety, of course,” said Antonella Fiori, senior manager for Global Quality Automotive MNAND RMA.
More than 30 Global Quality team members in Italy offered to donate their time off to Bazzana, but they didn’t have to because the company covered it.
Before she left for Bergamo on April 6, Bazzana wrote this essay about her life and “mission.” We will update you on her volunteer work in Bergamo soon.
First, I want to thank Micron again for making it possible for me to leave and help others. Not all companies would have, and I believe — no, I am sure — Micron is the best company to work for. I am proud to be a Micron employee. Some companies consider their people only as numbers, but Micron has consistently taken care of its people.
My mission started on April 7. I shall thank my husband, who is also a colleague. He accepts that, when I leave, he and my other colleagues in the lab will have to do my job as well. He will also take full care of our family while working. This is hard for a man. For women, it is normal to take charge of each and every task. But for men it is not; they are not used to it. So I thank him even more. He will do homework with Giorgio, our son, and will also have to explain to him why mum is not back home for dinner.
But this private retirement home near Bergamo, where I gave assistance in the past, called me. I have accepted because people die in Bergamo. They are running out of personnel. Most of them got infected, and help is needed. This time the epidemic is too big and wide. They have no more money for volunteers’ support and lodging. The money shall go for medical supplies required to survive. The nonprofit organization where I will operate was willing to pay me, but my salary — though low for Micron — is too high for them!
They called on my patriotism, desperately, crying … who is to blame? I studied for this purpose and do not want to step back when my country needs help. No, I will go. Because when Italy calls, the volunteers respond — always, despite everything, despite everyone.
All kids dream about what they want to be when they grow up: Some want to be soccer players or astronauts or Formula 1 racers. I just wanted to be a doctor.
But my parents insisted that I study computer science at high school in Monza. They thought computer science was the best field for future work. And how can I deny that? It’s been 20 years that I’ve been working at ST, Numonyx and then Micron.
It’s just … the desire to become a doctor has never gone away.
So I studied computer science at night. During the day, I pursued a military nursing career in the Italian Red Cross. When I was 18, I took the test for the Army in Rome and the test in nursing in Milan at Niguarda Hospital. So I was ready to start my mission: helping others.
Volunteers work during weekends when others have fun. Sometimes others have so much fun that we have to go pick them up because they are so sick.
I started as an EMT. One year later, I became a shift head, coordinating the whole crew, deciding the treatments on the way to the hospital and stopping when there was no hope.
I also joined the City Angels in Milan. On Saturday nights, we went to the train station and all the places where homeless people gather. We brought blankets, hot tea, food and … a bit of hope. Yes, the hope that everyone of us shall keep having.
I stood at traffic lights collecting money for the Red Cross. I met wonderful people who were donating, but also horrible ones who spat on me because they despised our service. Shame on those who did not understand that, sooner or later many, many of us need help. It is how life goes.
Volunteers don’t get paid. When you hear the ambulance, be aware that there are normal people inside, people who devote their time to help others. And we will keep looking for your donations until the state, that is, the citizens, understand that a doctor is worth more than a soccer player. Think about that now — and again when the COVID-19 emergency ends and you’re on the way to buy season tickets at the stadium.
In 2009, there was an earthquake in Abruzzo. We were called at 6 a.m., just a quick bye to my mum. She always cries when I leave. At 3 p.m., we were hundreds of miles away, building tents for those who had lost their places and digging into the rubble to save buried people.
So many victims that I, as shift head, was making decisions on who to help and who not.
My soul was crying all through the 78 hours of nonstop service. After so many years, there is no day I don’t think of all the people I had to leave behind.
And I have also wonderful memories: gentle people trying to make our lives easier though they had nothing left. They gave us a Moka (the Italian coffeepot) because we were eager for coffee to keep us awake.
They gave us chocolate to make us feel better.
Somebody offered me a Coke. After 25 days working nonstop, just seeing the bottle of Coke made me the happiest person on Earth.
Less than one year later, in February 2010, the tsunami struck Haiti. The Italian Red Cross participated in providing international aid with a group I was part of. I left even though my mum pleaded for me to stay. All my colleagues thought I was crazy. I have no pictures; I was in Haiti for just 20 days, and in the rush, I forgot my cell phone.
But there was only misery and death. That was the most horrible mission I have had.
Again in 2011, the Italian Red Cross did an international mission for the people in the Gaza Strip. I was invited to join, and you can imagine my answer.
Our aid was focused on the children. Children are never guilty. But sometimes we were attacked directly by those we were trying to help because they did not understand. They did not expect foreigners to take care of them. When they understood our good intentions, we became friends.
(In the right picture, I dressed in civvies because I had no uniforms left. There was no water for washing ourselves. You can guess how I was stinky when I came back.)
I continued with voluntary service even after my son, Giorgio, was born. But then I quit when I got married. I thought I was too “old” to go on.
And now the COVID-19 has come and I cannot decline that call. I don’t know how we will exit from the epidemic. I just know one thing for certain: We, as volunteers, will not move out as the same individuals that moved in. Every mission changes something in us, in our souls. Anyway, we are volunteers, and above all we are Italians, and we will win. It’s a promise.
Because after the rain, there is always the sun.