VERCELLI - The EASO community is deeply saddened to announce the death of our Italian Patient Council leader Marina Biglia, following a public and courageous battle with cancer.
Marina was a well known and highly respected public figure in Vercelli and throughout Italy. As president of the Italian National Association of Patients with Obesity, she was a prominent figure. Since 2016 she held an important role in Europe in improving access and and treatment options for patients across the country. Her public advocacy for obesity treatment provided hope to patients across Italy. She was also well known and respected among the medical community, Dr Luca Busetto, co-chair of the EASO OMTF, said “I met Marina for the first time many years ago, when the obesity problem was still underreported and underestimated in our country. Marina was the first to understand how important the voice of patient could be in increasing obesity awareness in society and at the political level. She was a strong and inspiring woman. A real friend of mine and a friend of the Italian Obesity Society and the Italian Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.”
An active media voice, Marina Biglia was also a columnist for the magazine “Donna Moderna”, published by Mondadori, and Socio SICOb (Italian Society for Obesity Surgery and Metabolic Diseases) from 2010. In April 2010 she published her book “” Unreasonable Weight – stories of ordinary obesity, “ which was distributed to over 20,000 readers.
Between March and May 2011, Ms Biglia collaborated with the ISTUD Foundation on the O.N.I.C.E. Obesity Narrated in Italy towards an Effective Care; in April 2012 she published, together with Dr. Carlo Gargiulo, through the publishing house Mondadori, the book “Togliamoci il peso” Recognizing and fighting overweight and obesity; in May 2012 she collaborated in drafting a chapter in the volume Narrative Medicine for a Sustainable Society, published by Lupetti; in the summer of 2012 she collaborated with the La Bicocca University of Milan in a research project on obesity; and since 2013 deals with the birth and development of self-help groups (GAMA) among patients, throughout Italy; in 2015 she collaborated in the drafting of the new SICOb Guidelines on Obesity Surger. Ms Biglia has since 2016 represented Italy on the EASO Patient Council, with a focus on access to treatment and policy.
Patient Council leaders across Europe were deeply saddened by Marina’s passing and have expressed their condolences and shared remembrances. Colleagues remember Marina as a warrior, with a skill for integrating art and policy, who focused on the patient journey as a strong advocate, always with a positive outlook. Marina was a caring parent and animal lover. She championed support for individual patients and tor accepting obesity as a chronic dIsease on the policy level. “The Patient Council plans to memorialise Marina and commemorate her contributions to the Council at ECO2019 in Glasgow, said Vicki Mooney, EASO Patient Council Secretary General. “Marina was a dear colleague and a beautiful friend, with grace, a passion for life and great concern for the well-being of others.” “Marina was loved and will be missed by many”, Vicki said.
Marina Biglia, who died at the Maggiore Maggiore Hospital in Novara, was born in Vercelli on 23 May 1961, and leaves behind her husband Giulio and son Luca. The funeral was held on Friday 28 December, Nella Chiesa di Billiemme, Vercelli, Italy. The entire EASO community joins in extending sympathy to the Biglia family.