By Scott Thompson
MEET THE inspirational woman who after being thrown off a motorbike and breaking her spine experienced a twist of fate when she fell in love with her physiotherapist – and now they are traveling the world together and planning for a family of their own.
Travel loving psychologist, Giulia Lamarca (27), from Turin, Italy, was involved in an horrific motorbike crash when heading home from work in October 2011. She had made the same trip daily for five years, but this time her motorbike slipped, which left her with a damaged vertebra, torn spine and the prospect of life in a wheelchair.
Giulia doesn’t remember much from directly after the accident but recalls having foot pain, which started to travel up her leg on the way to the hospital and bright blue lights in her face when she was in the ambulance.
Giulia was rushed to the hospital where she was told that she would need to have two metal plates and eight screws fitted to her spine to fix four vertebras in place. The surgery was a success, but she had to stay in hospital for a year to undergo two sessions of physiotherapy each day for five days a week to adjust to her life changing injury which has seen her use a wheelchair ever since.
Despite her injuries, Giulia stayed positive during her hospital stay and would read jokes and smile every morning to help her come to terms with her new life.
During rehab Giulia met her physiotherapist, Andrea Decarlini (28) and after spending endless hours together working on her recovery they fell in love and eventually married in March 2016. Giulia loves how different Andrea was to other men, finding him to be open minded, attractive and made her feel free again and as if she could achieve anything.
The relationship blossomed gradually and it was a long time before they told each other how they felt. Giulia was scared to tell Andrea how she felt, but this was easier after she received a romantic post-it note from him confessing his love.
Family and friends have been very supportive of the relationship as they see that Giulia is much happier when she is with Andrea.
“I had a terrible motorbike accident in 2011. I broke one vertebra which also affected my spine. Now I’m not able to walk even though I have full sense of feeling in my legs,” Giulia said.
“I was prepared for the surgery because I had just seen the same thing happen on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy a few days before the accident. I remember telling everyone ‘well… I thought things were worse.’
“I know it sounds crazy, because the doctors and my parents were looking at me anxiously, but I was fine, for real.
“I had a fusion across four vertebras with the use of two metal plates and eight screws. I also had to have a lot of physio and it took me a long time to get used to using the chair. Everything really was a lot of hard work.
“During that year in hospital every morning I would start my day by reading jokes. Smiling is very important and doing so helped me find serenity and a willingness to go on.
“I met my husband in the hospital. He was my physiotherapist. Actually he was still a student in his training and he was assigned to my ‘case.’ We spent days and days together working on my recovery and we eventually fell in love. We started going out as friends, as I really needed to escape the hospital from time to time, and from the first day we went out together we have seen each other every day.
“I was too scared to tell Andrea how I felt, until I received a very romantic post-it note from him that read ‘from the person who knows you the most. I love you’. He made me feel special, able and free to travel and go on. My family and friends are very happy and supportive about our relationship because they can see how much happier we are together.
“I got married in March 2016, I love it when people ask if he is my boyfriend and I get to say ‘no he is my husband’. But what I love even more is that he chose to keep me forever knowing all my best and worst parts. Now we feel ready to create a family. It’s a very exciting time for us.”
Since her recovery, Giulia has decided to live life to the full and travels all over the world with her husband. She uses Instagram to prove that having a disability doesn’t have to stop anyone from living their best life.
Since 2011, Giulia and Andrea have travelled to 23 countries and over 80 cities, including the USA, Australia, Perù, Bolivia, China, Japan, Canada, India, Bali, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Hungary, England, Morocco, Thailand and Italy.
Giulia and Andrea have a large map in their living room documenting all the places they have travelled to so far, and next on their itinerary is a visit to all Seven Wonders of the World. They have already been to The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, The Colosseum and the Taj Mahal and plan to visit Cuba and Indonesia next.
“I love travelling and I feel like a citizen of the world. I’m in a wheelchair due to an accident but above all I’m simply Giulia, with all my different facets,” said Giulia
“Travelling makes me feel free, I feel ‘able’ just like everyone else.
“I believe that it’s important to learn about other cultures and different people and witness the world out there for yourself with your own eyes.
“I’ve now been to over 80 cities in 23 different countries and we have a large map on our living room wall. We use little flags to show all the places that we have visited.
“I’m a very singular and practical psychologist, therefore I want to say, that there are certain things that happen in your life that are not beautiful or very nice and it’s useless to always look for a positive moral in every bad thing that happens.
“You might find God or faith but neither of those will help you to stand up again.
“What will help is to rise up and live again and to say ‘things are now this way, what can I do to make sure I can do all those things I did before?’
“Never let anything or anyone tell you something is impossible. I invite everyone to say as I say each morning ‘today is a good day and I will create the life that I dream of.’”.
You can follow Giulia’s adventures on Instagram.