Kenilworth charity football event returns to tackle cancer

Riccardo Scimeca and Carl Smith
Riccardo Scimeca and Carl Smith

A Kenilworth man whose family has been hit hard with cancer hopes to keep his brother’s memory alive by organising a football tournament and family day out fundraiser to benefit others with cancer.

Carl Smith, 46, whose brother Daniel died from cancer aged 24, has worked together with his friend, Riccardo Scimeca, to build off the event’s past success and bring back the ‘Soccer 8s’ tournament for a third year.

Kenilworth Soccer 8s tournament

Kenilworth Soccer 8s tournament

The event, which will also serve as a family fun day, will kick off at 1pm on Saturday September 14. There will be an raffle/auction and a Just Giving web page has been set up to raise money for a nominated individual who is battling cancer.

Carl said: “I’m just trying to get people out for a family fun day for a good cause.

“People go through difficult times, but good things can still come out of it.”

The eight-a-side tournament at Meadow Community Sports Centre at Kenilworth School, and will also feature family-friendly activities such as a bouncy castle, face painting, a raffle and a cake sale.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

The Soccer 8s tournament and family fun day event is raising funds to go directly to help young people going through a tough time with cancer.

Two youngsters from Kenilworth, a 13-year-old girl who is having treatment for Leukemia along with a 17-year-old boy, will benefit from money raised at the upcoming event and the Just Giving page.

Carl not only wants to help raise money for other people, but tell people the importance of getting screened and tested.

Carl said: “I had a back ache and got a scan. We later found out it was in my genes.”

The KWN published a story last year how a fundraising campaign was launched to help Carl Smith raise money for some much needed life-saving treatment.

Carl was diagnosed with a complex form of cancer called a paraganglioma after having pain in his back in late 2015.

He underwent a high-risk operation to remove one of his kidneys, 60 per cent of his liver and to transplant his inferior vena cava, a major blood vessel to the heart.

After six rounds of chemotherapy and embracing alternative medicine such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and making wholesale changes to his diet, Carl’s tumour began to shrink.

During this time, Carl’s brother Daniel was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in February 2016 and died two months later.

Because Daniel also had cancer, Carl went to see a geneticist and learned he had a mutated version of the SDHB gene, which increases the risk of getting certain types of cancer. The geneticist told him he may have passed it on to his two daughters.

After learning this, Ellie and Lauren were screened and were found to have the gene.

When they were scanned doctors found Ellie, now 17, had a tumour on her kidney.

After an intense operation to remove it and a third of her kidney, Ellie pulled through.

Carl’s father Earl was diagnosed with cancer in early 2018, and died in March aged 64.

Meanwhile Carl continues to have scans every three months.

Carl said: “My problems still exist. I met some world leaders in America. There are some treatments, particularly if my blood levels improve.

“In the interim I am looking at some alternative therapies. This is something positive to focus on.”

Playing football on a Thursday night with friends like Riccardo has helped Carl cope.

Riccardo, a former professional footballer for Aston Villa, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion, said: “Carl has been such an inspiration with the guys we play with on a Thursday.”

Riccardo, a close family friend, added: “They’ve always been so positive, and it’s just to give something back.”