Hockey Fights Cancer is back with the Winnipeg Jets! Throughout November there are ways to support. Plus, attend Hockey Fights Cancer night on November 29 to hear special stories of young people who are facing a cancer diagnosis. Read their stories below.
Here are some of the ways you can support:
- Purchase raffle tickets at TNYFRaffle.com for a chance to win one of eight Jets warmup-worn/issued HFC jerseys
- Get in on the 50/50 by purchasing tickets at the November 29 game or online at WinnipegJets.com/5050
- After the November 29 game head to Auctions.NHL.com to bid on warmup-worn and issued HFC jerseys, HFC goalie masks, and warmup-used and issued lavender-taped sticks
- Head to the HFC booths at Jets games throughout November to purchase mystery pucks and raffle tickets
- Buy your lavender gear from Jets Stores and a portion will be donated back to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation
- Donate at biggestfans.ca
- Text CARE to 20222 to donate $10 or $20
This November marks the Winnipeg Jets’ 11th Hockey Fights Cancer (HFC) campaign. Fans have generously raised more than $1,000,000 in the last 10 years to help local kids receive care right in Manitoba.
This year, we are honoured to feature five special young ambassadors: Azen, Cain, Gordie, Haydence, and Victoria. Growing up, we all have hopes, dreams, and hobbies, and these five young people are no different. They want to draw and dance. 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.
Meet some of the young people you are helping
At 15 years old, Azen is battling cancer for the second time in his life. He was first diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and when he recently found out that his cancer had returned, he said to his mom, “I beat it the first time, I’ll beat it the second time.”
He received the first diagnosis on Christmas day at just eight years old after driving to from Brandon to Winnipeg with his mom when he began feeling ill. For the next three and a half years, he went through many rounds of chemotherapy, often needing to take breaks from treatment when his blood counts were low. Hospital stays and blood transfusions became a regular part of life for Azen and his mom. He stayed strong through it all and then received the good news that his cancer had gone into remission.
Less than three years later in March 2022 when Azen was having a routine doctor’s appointment and blood work, they received the shocking news that his leukemia was back.
Azen keeps his spirits high by doing things he loves – playing video games, enjoying the outdoors, riding dirt bikes, spending time with family, and of course cheering on the Winnipeg Jets.
‘So…you think I have cancer?’ That was the question nine-year-old Cain asked the doctor on the day he and his family learned of his diagnosis. Even in the midst of chemotherapy and painful limb-salvage surgery, he never lost his spirit or gave up hope.
Less than one year ago Cain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer. Before that he was a healthy, active kid. He loved playing hockey, rugby and running around outside with his younger brother and sister. At the Minnedosa hospital on New Year’s Eve Cain underwent a leg x-ray, and upon seeing the results, the doctor immediately scheduled an appointment for an MRI at CancerCare in Winnipeg the next day. The MRI revealed a large tumour in Cain’s right tibia. This is when Cain learned he had osteosarcoma. Within a week, Cain began his first of six rounds of chemotherapy.
Mid-way through his rounds of chemotherapy Cain was scheduled to receive the first part of limb-salvage surgery – a complex operation that aims to remove the cancerous tumour while keeping nearby tendons, nerves and blood vessels intact. Cain’s first surgery to remove the osteosarcoma in his tibia was a success. What followed was a grueling two-week hospital stay.
Cain is no longer confined to a wheelchair and is moving around more using his walker.
At just four years old, he doesn’t understand what he’s fighting for, but he’s fighting like crazy. Gordie has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) – an aggressive cancer that only 2% of kids survive five years with…but Gordie’s family is hopeful a cure will be found for their boy.
His tumour is inoperable, but he quickly began treatment and became one of the youngest people to receive radiation treatment at CancerCare Manitoba. He is too young to understand what is going on so his family, with the support of CCMB staff, have tried to make it a fun experience for him. It wasn’t long before he liked going for his “pictures” every day. His tumour has shrunk by 50% and he has his mobility back allowing him to get back to living like a four year old should.
Gordie just passed the eight-month mark since his diagnosis and he’s doing amazing. He and his family try to make the very best of every day and spend time doing all the things that Gordie loves – watching hockey, spending time at their cabin, and taking road trips to see family.
Your support will help advance research and clinical trials for pediatric patients in this province. Access to clinical trials is essential to providing the newest treatments available for children like Gordie with the hardest to treat cancers.
Life has changed a lot for 14-year-old Haydence over the last two and a half years. Being diagnosed with cancer is scary and overwhelming. She stays strong with the loving support of her brother Antoine.
Three years ago, at the age of 12, Haydence was told she has a combination of acute lymphocytic and acute myeloid leukemia. She was admitted to the hospital in Winnipeg and started chemotherapy immediately. What came next was a bone marrow transplant that was critical to her overall treatment plan being successful. Luckily, one of her siblings was a match. The process was long and painful, but the bone marrow that Haydence received from her sister very likely saved her life.
Over the last two years, Haydence and Antione have spent a lot of time in the hospital. Tests, blood transfusions and chemotherapy are a regular part of their lives. Today, Haydence’s cancer is in remission. She continues to take daily chemotherapy medication to ensure that the leukemia doesn’t return. To stay positive and keep her mind active during recovery Haydence stays connected with a couple of close friends from home, she enjoys playing video games and loves to draw and write. She’s looking forward to starting school again once she feels strong enough to do so.
Victoria is five years old. She has a big heart and a wicked sense of humour. A little over a year ago she was diagnosed with Stage 3 rabdyosarcoma, a form of soft tissue cancer. She has faced her cancer journey with a tremendous amount of bravery and inspires her family everyday with her unwavering determination.
Victoria would undergo 44 weeks of intense chemotherapy to try and combat the cancer in her body. Shortly after she began treatment, she went from being a normal, silly, energetic five-year-old to losing her hair and becoming really sick. Throughout her treatment, Victoria has been a part of all the conversations with her care team. It’s important to her parents that she understand what is happening to her body and why.
Victoria’s diagnosis has been a life-changing experience for her entire family. Over the last year, they have banded together and rallied around her to give her the support and encouragement she needs to fight her cancer. So far, it’s working. Victoria has now completed her initial treatment plan and is on a 24-week maintenance chemotherapy regime to ensure her cancer doesn’t return. If it does, it will be harder to treat and she’d need to start over again with weeks of chemotherapy. Today, her prognosis for a full recovery is good. Something her family is so grateful for.