Meet 16 year old Malotie Faapine: Soccer enthusiast, sports fanatic and now, soldier in the fight for his life against cancer. To mark World Cancer Day, the U17 National Soccer Team visited cancer patients during the weekend at the National hospital.
The team entered the hospital with open minds and open hearts and sought after a cancer patient under 17 years old who they could possibly relate to. What happened next was purely coincidental. The team met up with 16 years old, Malotie Faapine from Nofoalii and Vaivase Tai who is a former National U-15 Football player. He has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer that infects the bone. After a nasty fall late last November, his left knee began to swell and produced no signs of depressing. Faapine was then hospitalized and was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.
This particular type of cancer is commonly found in males under the age of 25. Up until now, Faapine has been hospitalized, can barely walk and awaits approval from the New Zealand Ward to travel overseas for treatment for the cancer. Meeting Faapine who was once a star athlete and has his whole soccer career ahead of him was an eye opener for the young boys. Each of the Under 17’s team greeted him and brought gifts such as food stock, football gear and even presented him with their National Jersey.
The visit was even more touching for the Head Coach of the U17’s teams, Desmond Faaiuaso. He remembered young Faapine for his outstanding performance on the soccer field. He always wondered where the young soccer player with so much potential went off to after he stopped showing off for practice. Faaiuaso thought of the young lad when he was beginning to scout players for the U17’s team last year.
Finally finding Faapine laying in the hospital gurney was quiet surreal. However, as for Faapine himself, he was said to beam with excitement when the boys came to visit him. He is said to be handling the situation to the best of his abilities and is just anxiously waiting to get the call to do the surgery.
His family remains strong and prays that they will hear a response soon from the New Zealand Medical treatment facilities so they can get their young healthy boy back.
Story by: SINA FILIFILIA SEVAAETASI