Paola Giambellini, born in 1965, is a paracyclist from Chiampo in the province of Vicenza. Paola was born and grew up there, a region known for leather processing, where she learnt to love sport as a child. Volleyball but above all athletics. She was a promising middle-distance runner, inspired by champion Gabriella Dorio, until at 14 she had to stop due to severe knee pain. A series of long and profound investigations ensued, leading to the discovery of a very rare disease, a desmoid tumour. A disease about which very little was known and which has been with her throughout her life.
For the past 40 years, Paola has been operated on 64 times; she has scars everywhere, except on her face. Yet (this time it is not a cliché) she has never, ever given up, not even when in 2008 doctors amputated one of her legs to save her life. She wrote two books about her story, donating the entire proceeds to research against her disease. In the meantime, she worked in bars and clubs, raising her daughter Giulia, who in 2019 made her the grandmother of a beautiful granddaughter, Ginevra. That very same year, Paola overcame her last hesitations and, taking advantage of a reprieve from her condition, applied to Obiettivo3. As soon as she got her handbike, she started pedalling, instantly feeling like a child again and rediscovering that unique feeling of the wind in her face that athletics used to give her.