Ahead of arguably one of the biggest games of the season Sydney FC and the Starlight Children’s Foundation teamed up to surprise one of the Sky Blues biggest fans as part of the Starlight Wishmaking program.
Gabe Cipriano, aged seven, recently won his battle against high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and was invited to the Sky Blues final training session at Allianz Stadium ahead of the derby.
Meeting Head Coach Graham Arnold before training seemed a big enough surprise to Gabe until Arnold showed the youngster where he’d be sitting for Saturday night’s clash; the Sky Blues bench.
Norman Cipriano, Gabe’s father, expressed his amazement at the Sky Blues and Starlight Children’s Foundation’s surprise.
“It’s amazing, for him to sit on the bench with Graham Arnold and the boys, that’s massive,” he said.
“I think the hell that we’ve gone through for two and a half years, to get something like this is so amazing. What Starlight and Sydney FC and Paul Reid, especially for Gabe, what they’ve done is amazing.
“He’d be lying in bed isolated in a room with his Sydney FC Del Piero jersey on, all the nurses know he’s a big Sydney FC fan,” he continued.
“He’s just a seven year old running around being normal and I guess when it finally sinks in he’ll know how big it is but I think he’s just taking it in his stride.
“We’re buzzing for tomorrow night, we can’t wait. To be at a derby as well it’s the best match for him to be at.”
For full coverage of Gabe’s surprise, tune in to Channel Seven and Weekend Sunrise from 7am.
Sydney FC take on the Western Sydney Wanderers tomorrow night in the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium (kick off 7:30pm). Catch the match live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Granstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for match updates.
Sydney FC Memberships are still on sale for the 2015/16 season. Click HERE to become part of the Sky Blues family