Pro hockey players (left to right) Andrew Desjardins (San Jose Sharks), Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Derek MacKenzie (Florida Panthers), Marcus Foligno (Buffalo Sabres) and Zack Stortini (Norfolk Admirals) visit, play mini-sticks and sign autographs for the children in the Pediatric Oncology Unit of the Northeast Cancer Centre at HSN.
The Pediatric Oncology Unit of the Northeast Cancer Centre at Health Sciences North (HSN) was full of smiles, laughter and awe-struck faces when Sudbury’s own pro hockey players came to visit. July 3.
As a part of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Hats for Heroes campaign Nick Foligno was accompanied by past teammate Derek MacKenzie (Florida Panthers), younger brother Marcus Foligno (Buffalo Sabres), Andrew Desjardins (San Jose Sharks) and Zack Stortini (Norfolk Admirals of the AHL). All five players grew up in Sudbury.
“It’s something we look forward to every year and we really enjoy doing. I know the kids get a lot out of it, but as players and as people here in this community, we really learn a lot from these kids,”explains Derek MacKenzie of the Florida Panthers.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Hats for Heroes was founded in 2000 to support the fight against pediatric cancer. The program sets out to raise money through the sale of Hats for Heroes merchandise and fundraising events to fund breakthrough research as well as create memorable experiences with children who are battling cancer.
This visit also means a lot to Foligno brothers, Nick and Marcus, who were directly affected by cancer five years ago. The brothers lost their mother in 2009 and since then, the Janis Foligno Foundation was established to raise money for cancer research.
This is the fourth year the pro hockey players have visited the Pediatric Oncology Unit at HSN and it has proven once again that a little visit goes a long way!
“My son looks forward to this visit from year to year, so it’s something really positive about coming to the cancer treatment centre, and it brings something exciting for him here, and he’s really become a fan of all these players,” says Leanne Vaillancourt, whose son Matthieu receives treatment at the Pediatric Oncology Unit of the Northeast Cancer Centre.