In the world of sports nothing is forever, even the most winning teams belong to cycles with a beginning and an end: for once I will not be talking to you about basketball, but about "our" challenge that continues growing through the years and never stops, thanks to the help and support of many.
It all began in 1998, when my father died of leukemia: that was the moment when, for the first time, I came in direct contact with the disease. I remember, besides my personal own, the drama of the hospitalized children and their families, a tragedy even harder to accept given their age and innocence.
From that year I started getting involved in the situations of some of them and their families, collaborating with Madrid’s Fundación Leucemia y Linfoma and, among other things, writing my first and so far only book "El año mágico of Unicaja" in 2005, whose proceeds went entirely to the Foundation, or helping as I could in my hometown, Brescia.
Everything was anonymous and at personal level, up to the time when someone pointed out that getting involved publicly and officially would have helped in collecting funds and increasing awareness.
It is then, when I met Fernando Molina in Malaga, that the Fundacion Cesare Scariolo was born, dedicated to my father and whose purpose is to help children suffering from leukemia and their families.
At present, the structure that we are supporting more actively is Malaga’s Materno Infantil Hospital, which is a reference for the whole area including Morocco, but we also help other structures.
One of the activities is the targeted support of children and their families, specific cases referred to us by hospitals. Sometimes the risk of thinking too big is that your efforts will be like a drop lost in the ocean: we believe that a direct relationship can make a difference in the lives of those people.
Then there are the fun activities, like visits to the circus, sport games, days out on the snow and hopefully the next goal we are working on: a trip to Disneyland!
Believe me, there is nothing more rewarding after a hard day working on the court of receiving the photos and the reports of the activities and see the smiles of the children!
A big achievement for us was the renovation of a hospital floor in order to make it friendlier and more suitable for kids: through friends of the Foundation each week we also visit and organise entertainment activities for them.
The big need for the families, already shaken by the situation, is to stay close to their children: that's why we have managed to provide 2 apartments near the hospital with 3-4 bedrooms each, for children who have to go through chemotherapy and their families, and sometimes we also give hospitality to marrow donors.
This experience began in a sad moment for me in the role of a son, but develops full of hope as the father of two children, Carlota and Alessandro, that I have already been able to take with me at a couple of initiatives of the Foundation and that, even if still very young, are beginning to understand the value of solidarity.
I'm trying to make them aware of how lucky they have been in being born into a wealthy family and about the need to take advantage of it with hands and eyes open towards who hasn’t been so fortunate: a huge surprise came from Alessandro, when at school he was asked about his dream job. You would think that "basketball coach" was the answer. Wrong: President of the Foundation Cesare Scariolo, he replied!
I leave you with a thought on the importance of any kind of help, whether big or small, to support our activities and our aspiration to grow and help as many families as possible, not only in Malaga. The Foundation’s initiatives are direct and transparent and without intermediaries and we'll be happy to show you what your help contributed to achieve.
I'd like you to join us in this challenge, as you do in the arenas during games or in front of TV: thanks and see you soon!
Got a curiosity? A suggestion? Every week Sergio will answer a question chosen from amongst those submitted by fans!