Like most fourteen year old Italian boys, Nicolo` did not just enjoy soccer, he had a passion for the sport. Summer days were spent at the beach, organizing tournaments with friends. Laughter and fun filled each game. Every goal was excitement, like in the best major league championships.
July 21st, 2013. It’s seven o’clock p.m. The hustle and bustle of beachgoers is interrupted by sirens. An ambulance is trying to make its’ way through the crowd: “ Get out of the way people, let them through! “ — “ He collapsed, he just collapsed!” . Tears, desperation. Family, friends, the whole town is under shock. Nicolo’s heart stopped beating, it just stopped.
When I come across the word resilience I think of my friend Natasha. Her eyes define the term. Shortly after Nicolò left , she and her husband Sandro gave life to the Nicolo` Serroni Foundation . Their quest is to raise money to buy defibrillators to donate to schools and sports facilities, to create opportunities for citiziens to learn how to use this equipment, because, had there been a defibrillator when Nicolo` went into cardiac arrest, well…
Since the day Nicolo` stepped ahead of us my friendship with Natasha has grown into a bond that I have trouble explaining. It’s beauty and depth go beyond words. Sharing pain, sharing this kind of pain sheds new meaning on life, on its’ purpose. It draws away from self-pity. Knowing Natasha has brought two more friends into my life; Marcella and Sylvie. Somehow, our being together keeps Nicolo’ alive. Supporting one another, supporting Natasha and Sandro’s cause, brings love and gives meaning to an otherwise senseless tragedy.
Two Sundays ago, our friend Sylvie who lives in Sicily with her husband and two sons ( and whom, by the way, is expecting her third boy ), organized a charity bikeathon. They raised enough money to buy and donate a defibrillator for their city, Caltanissetta. I’m not going to say more because I don’t want to spoil the video for you. It is heartwarming to say the least. You will also find a letter I translated from Italian to English. It was written by Nicolo’s parents to thank all those who pedalled away during the event.
In a world that appears to be drowning in hate and violence there are still candles of hope written in values like friendship. Candles that continue to glimmer despite the cold winds, protected by the wings of an Angel.
Once again your hearts have come to join our cause. It’s the third year now and we are so proud to have friends like all of you. It is incredible to us. The event you organized touched us deeply. We would have loved to be there with you but this was not possible. To show our gratitude we sent a gift, a trophy. It was handmade by a special friend. He designed it for all those whom, in many different ways, give us the strength to carry on with our mission. He called the trophy: NICOLO’S OSCAR. We can’t think of anyone who deserve it more than you. The love and commitment you put into making Caltanissetta a safer city for all fills us with joy. The bikeathon you organized is not just a charity event, it is a tribute to life, because a defibrillator can save countless lives. THANK YOU! Thank you to your families, to your children for taking the time, for making the event so special, for helping it succeed. May the warmth of our embrace reach you all as well as the city of Caltanissetta.
Sandro, Natasha, Alessandra and NICOLO
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Originally published at medium.com