High school football team plays for terminally ill 3-year-old

A high school football team is playing for more than touchdowns and stats after a relative reached out and asked if they could honor a 3-year-old girl facing a terminal illness. In response, the Dixon High School varsity team in California took the field last week with “Frankie Strong” stickers on their helmets, and played for the girl who is headed to New York for further treatments, Fox 40 reported.

Frankie, whose last name was not disclosed, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma last year, and will have surgery to remove three of the tumors in the near future. Her uncle, Craig Militano, whose son Jake plays on the Dixon football team, said that several other tumors cannot be removed.

“She just wants to play and be a kid,” Militano told the news outlet. “It’s hard to do that when you have a tube in your nose.”

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Though Frankie was unable to attend the game because of her fragile immune system, the family said the support has made a large impact on them.

“It makes me proud that I have the stage and platform for her, and make her feel happy for one night,” Jake Militano told Fox 40.

Head coach Wes Besseghini said the decision to honor Frankie was easy.

“The ability to give support to other people is what these fights are all about,” he told Fox 40.