By Vatican News
In a letter published in the Italian sports newspaper “La Gazzetta dello Sport”, Pope Francis thanks paralympic champion Alex Zanardi for “giving strenth to those who had lost it”.
The Formula 1 race car driver lost his legs after a terrible accident on the race track in 2001. His story is a testimony to the value of restarting and "a lesson of humanity”.
In his letter, Pope Francis thanks the sportsman for his ability to instill courage even in situations of great suffering.
"Dear Alessandro," he writes. "Your story is an example of how to start again after a sudden halt. Through sport you have demonstrated how to live life as protagonists, making disability a lesson in humanity. Thank you for giving strength to those who had lost it. In this painful moment I am close to you, I pray for you and your family. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you".
Pope Francis also expresses his closeness in prayer to Zanardi, who has been in the intensive care unit of the university polyclinic Santa Maria alle Scotte in Siena since last Friday, after he was involved in a very serious handbike accident. The accident occured during a charity race in the town of Pienza.
Earlier this month, Zanardi lent his support to the charity auction, "We run together", promoted by the Pope, with the aim of raising funds for the hospitals of Bergamo and Brescia, at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.