MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN ROMANIA
Posted on: Thu 07 Mar 2013
After completing their training session in the National Arena on Wednesday evening, the Chelsea players and management received some special guests at the stadium.
The Little People is an organisation set up to provide care for children and teenagers with cancer in Romania and Moldova and six youngsters came down to the tunnel area to talk to the squad and pose for photos with them.
Founded in 1996 by Londoner Shajjad Rizvi, who runs the association with his wife Katie, The Little People work in nine hospitals across the two countries and have previously brought children in their care to meet Chelsea in Cluj back in 2008. Rizvi explained just what it meant to them to see their heroes.
'We have kids in several different conditions here,' he told us. 'There is one kid who is going back into treatment at the moment, one kid a year out of treatment and four kids who are currently receiving treatment. 'For all of them, this is magic. There is an eight-year old boy here whose birthday is tomorrow and his favourite player is Paulo Ferreira. He just met him now and he is on cloud nine. Paulo was the first player to come out and the boy was just amazed - it was fantastic.'
The work being done by Rizvi is essential in keeping up the spirits of young people suffering with cancer. As he pointed out to us, it is vital to supplement the medical care the children receive with personal support.
'We provide the therapy, the psychologists and the educators for kids while they are being treated for cancer,' he said.
'In Romania, there is no facility for psycho-social support, so if your kid is diagnosed with cancer, they may get the treatment but they wouldn't have anything else, other than medical care. We provide them with some distractions, some fun and the psycho-social support to help the children through their treatment.
'It's very kind of Chelsea to do this because it makes a huge difference in the lives of these kids.'