ALS activist Bjorn Formosa has apologised to the Dean of the University’s Faculty of Social Wellbeing after he criticised his plans to set up a house for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
“I would like to apologize for today’s earlier reaction to Dr. [Andrew] Azzopardi’s article but I am dedicating my life and energy to this project and that was the reason for my immediate reaction,” Bjorn said. “However I still respect everyone’s opinion and I’m open to critique, but this has to be based on actual facts and not done for personal propaganda. If Dr. Azzopardi wanted to pass his feedback he could have done it over a meeting not in the press.”
For several months now, Bjorn has been raising funds to construct a large house for patients suffering from neurodegenerative problems, complete with one-to-one care and avant-garde technology such as brain-computer interface systems for patients who have lost the ability to move their eyes.
The inspirational activist managed to raise €920,000 for this project in a single night during last week’s edition of Xarabank.
However, Andrew Azzopardi yesterday warned the planned project runs counter to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because it does not encourage ALS patients to live in the community.
The Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability Oliver Scicluna agreed with Azzopardi, warning that “what seems a solution today will result negatively in the future”.
Bjorn insisted his plan is not to build an institution for people with disabilities, but a nursing home to treat people with neurodegenerative conditions who are unable to live at home without any specialised care.
“As we did with past projects we will be consulting with all stakeholders so that ALS patients will be offered the best service and possible support,” he said.