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Winners Cup : A unique football tournament for children/ adolescents with cancer in Italy

MILAN – The Winners Cup, a football tournament for young people suffering from cancer, was held at the Suning Youth Development Centre on Saturday 22 April. The tournament was run in collaboration with CSI Milano, SIAMO and FIAGOP, with the support of F.C. Internazionale Main Sponsor Pirelli and sponsorship from the Italian National Olympic Committee.

Twelve teams and a total of 140 players took part in the tournament, all of them current or former cancer patients. The participants were invited to the Suning Training Centre in memory of Giacinto Facchetti to share their stories of bravery and show that the disease can be beaten.

After the tournament, one of the doctors working on the project sent us a message written by one of the youngsters who took part.

“None of the results, the goals scored and conceded, the final standings, the awards, the aching feet or the sunburnt faces matter,” it read. “All of my friends were there. There were people that had gone through similar things to me. There were people that had shared in my story. There were people that work to save the lives of others. And as for those no longer with us – they were there too, stronger than ever before. For me, just being there meant I was winning.”

It is a touching message of unity – and it’s no coincidence that the official Winners Cup anthem is called “United to Win”. Taking part were youngsters from Aviano, Udine, Trieste, Bari, Bologna, Genoa, Milan, Modena, Monza, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Catania, Pisa, Florence and Rome.

Ultimately, the Winners Cup once again proved that football can give young people the extra boost they need to overcome adversity.

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