08 Feb The warrior and her hero
Interview to Massimiliano Gibellini, President of the Association “Progetto Erika F.T.C.”
Every year Raccortubi Group supports a charity initiative, submitted by its employees.
What we tell you today is an incredible story, of sport, of friendship, but above all, of unconditional love.
We met Massimilano Gibellini to know the story of his association, Progetto Erika F.T.C. (which stands for “Fuck the Cancer”), which Raccortubi decided to support with a donation in 2022.
The story of the Association
“Progetto Erika F.T.C. was born to revive, in solidarity and help, the love that our daughter has given us.
It all started in 2016: a few weeks after Erika left us, I was contacted by some supporters of the Varese Football Club”.
Massimiliano works in the Security Department at the Franco Ossola stadium and discovers he is surrounded by friends, who do not hesitate to come forward and concretely support him in the darkest moment.
“The world of sport has been very close to me. Having the support of friends means a lot. I feel lucky”.
This is how, in May of that year, the first “Fuck the cancer” event was organized with the Ultras of the football team: an event that has now become a consolidated format, which offers activities for children, concerts, and the popular auction of the t-shirts of both Italian and international football champions. Fuck the Cancer is organized in collaboration with the Giacomo Ascoli Foundation (another incredible story) and involves many organizations, volunteers, sponsors and different realities… all united for Erika, all united to achieve a great goal.
The Giacomo Ascoli Foundation, by request of the Gibellini family, has opened a fund dedicated to Erika, which collects all the donations received in her memory and the proceeds of the event.
The territory has responded well and, since the first edition, around 200.000 euros have been raised, destined for the construction of 3 sterile rooms at the Pediatric Oncohematology Unit at the Del Ponte Hospital in Varese.
Our donation will help set up the sterile rooms: once built, in fact, they need to be furnished and equipped with toys, because
“the thing that a child housed in those wards needs most of all is to be treated “as if nothing had happened”, not to be afraid, not to feel ill, but to be able to be what he is: a child, with all the rights of children.
In 2012 Erika was 12 years old and, upon returning from vacation, began to experience shortness of breath and a certain stiffness of the breast tissues. Pediatricians and doctors underestimate the situation, referring it to physiological growth stages and prescribe antibiotics; instead, it is breast cancer.
She begins a long process of visits and treatments (the few available) and, although it seems that Erika has recovered, the disease returns after a few months.
They are difficult months and years, in which, however, Erika fights with dignity and maturity: “she never complained, until the very end. Even in her pain, she was the first to give herself”.
Massimiliano’s strength, as he talks to us, is a strength that does not belong to earth and, from what he tells us, we can easily understand that Erika is a true warrior.
“She didn’t want to wear a wig, she said, ‘let them look at me, I have no problems. Should I be ashamed because I have no hair?”.
Instead of the wig, she tattooed “Stay strong” on her head.
She draws a bow and gets it tattooed on her arm, with the inscription “Fuck the cancer” in the center, which has now become the logo of the Association and which we see again today, printed on her father’s neck. On the other arm, her best friend Alice gets a tattoo of Anais Nin’s phrase “You can’t save people, you can only love them”, which is now also printed on the sweatshirts of the Association.
During their visits to the hospital, the Gibellini family learns about the Make a Wish association, which makes the wishes of fragile children come true.
Erika tries, she writes to realize her dream of becoming a model for a day: the application is accepted and a limousine picks her up from home and takes her to a photographic studio, where a team of professionals make her young beauty immortal.
She dreams of visiting London. Everyone tells Massimiliano “take her to Lourdes, take her to Medjugorje”, but his wife Angela and him move heaven and earth and take her to London: “she almost didn’t want to go there because she said the cost of the trip was too high… there were three beautiful days, in which she was very well”.
If you had a dream come true
“I have many: first of all, however, peace and health for my daughter Sofia (Erika’s little sister).
Then, may this association continue to create many beautiful things in memory of Erika and, even when I’m gone, someone else carry on my project”.
A message to our readers
“Life is Beautiful. Let’s try to complain less about the little things and appreciate what really matters.”
To donate to “Progetto Erika Ftc”: IT88K056965052000020350X33