Not only did the Winnipeg Jets win big on Monday night, it was also an incredible win for Manitoba kids with cancer and their families. In a sold out Bell MTS Place, waves of purple jerseys and colorful signs filled the stands for a very heartwarming game – Hockey Fights Cancer night.
Thanks to amazing community support, True North Sports and Entertainment donated $150,000 to pediatric clinical trials at CancerCare Manitoba. The engagement and love these children and their families received have created lasting memories.
The excitement began with a standing ovation for Maia, 4, Brody, 7, Brenna, 3, and Dustin, 6. They took centre ice alongside Keven Cheveldayoff, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg Jets Assistant Coach, Jamie Kompon and Annitta Stenning President and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. The four strong cancer warriors were joined by Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler and Minnesota Wild captain, Mikko Koivu, whose older brother Saku Koivu, also an NHL player, is a cancer survivor.
Growing up, we all have hopes, dreams, and hobbies, and these four young children are no different. They want to help animals. They want to hang out with their friends and siblings. And like classic Manitobans, they want to cheer for the Jets.
Each year, between 50 and 60 children in Manitoba are diagnosed with cancer and many more continue treatments. Because of you, and the support from Hockey Fights Cancer, these children and their families get to enjoy more tomorrows together.
Learn more about each of the special guests for Hockey Fights Cancer night below.
Maia, 4, is a smart, curious little girl who loves animals – drawing animals, playing with animals, and dressing up as animals. You can see a theme here. Earlier this year, Maia and her family received the worst news a family can get – Maia had cancer. The diagnosis … high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The treatment for this type of cancer will last three years and includes cranial radiation.
Maia’s doctor and the nurses who care for her have become like family and CancerCare Manitoba now feels like their second home. Her parents, Alicia and Rob, say Maia looks forward to going to the pediatric clinic.
Alicia and Rob are optimistic about Maia’s future; a future they know is in front of her because of Hockey Fights Cancer supporters.
Brody, 7, started playing hockey when he was very young. He was on the ice in kindergarten but when the next winter came around, he wasn’t able to skate anymore. In addition to not being able to skate, Brody’s balance was off. He was vomiting and had very low energy. After a visit to the emergency room, Brody’s family received the news – Brody had a rare brain tumour. The official diagnosis – stage II ependymoma. His treatment has included several cycles of chemotherapy, over 30 radiation treatments, blood transfusions, daily medicine injections at home and numerous MRIs. All of this and he’s just seven years old.
At the outset of his treatment, Brody was enrolled in a pediatric clinical trial. A trial available because of the generosity of Hockey Fights Cancer supporters. Brody’s parents are eternally grateful to each and every one of you.
Brenna, 3, is a huge Winnipeg Jets fan. She may be small, but pound-for-pound she has to be one of the biggest Jets fans around. She is also incredibly courageous and strong.
In July 2016, Brenna was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. It’s a form of cancerous tumour that starts in the brain near the base of the skull and tends to spread to the spinal cord. She spent the entire last half of 2016 in the hospital enduring treatment for her cancer. Since January, Brenna has been coming to CancerCare Manitoba as an outpatient every three weeks for treatments and watchful monitoring.
Dustin, 6, is the youngest of six siblings. He and his family live in Nunavut, a community of about 1000 people in northern Canada. When the usually energetic and playful Dustin started feeling tired this past summer, his parents noticed. After falling very ill in September, he had to be medivacced to Winnipeg. To his parents’ shock, Dustin was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
Dustin’s outpatient treatment at CancerCare Manitoba will last nine months. He and his parents will need to stay in Winnipeg this entire time. He will be separated from his brothers and sisters which is incredibly hard on all of them.
Dustin is participating in a pediatric clinical trial which includes arsenic chemotherapy administered intravenously. This trial is available thanks to Winnipeg Jets fans and donors like yourself.