Dixon High School Football Team Rallies Behind 3-Year-Old Fighting Cancer

DIXON -- The Dixon High School football team was not just playing for touchdowns under the bright Friday night lights.

The team rallied together in a tribute to Frankie, a terminally ill Auburn girl.

"It's for a bigger cause, it's more than just football tonight," said Jake Militano, Frankie's cousin and Dixon Rams defensive lineman.

Last year, at just 2 years old, Frankie was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. The prognosis is not good, according to her family. Next week Frankie will have surgery to remove three tumors, but her uncle, Craig Militano, said she still has several other tumors the doctors cannot remove.

"She just wants to play and be a kid," Craig Militano said. "It's hard to do that when you have a tube in your nose."

Her cousin asked all the varsity players to wear "Frankie Strong" stickers on their helmets. While the little girl couldn't be at the game for fear that she might get sick, the small gesture made a big impact on a family that's been through so much.

"It makes me proud that I have the stage and platform for her, and make her feel happy for one night," Jake Militano said.

It was an easy choice for head coach Wes Besseghini to make the night about cancer awareness -- his own dad battled the disease.

"The ability to give support to other people is what these fights are all about," coach Besseghini said.

Frankie's family is used to a fight; her father is a firefighter with Cal Fire. They will soon be traveling to New York to get the 3-year-old further treatments.