Thursday, 19 December 2013

how hockey can save a life

“Six months give or take”. For many days those were the only words that were in my head. My thoughts empty, my heart broken, my life walking away from me. Nobody is prepared for those words, nobody is ready to leave, nobody is ready to give up all their dreams, nobody is ready to say goodbye. There I was, in my living room, cell phone in hand, trying to figure out how to tell my family and my boyfriend that I didn’t get to spend another Christmas with them. I think that was the hardest struggle, Cancer is never about you, cancer is about the people that watch live that cancer. Cancer is a family disease, it involves everyone who has ever cared for you. I felt like I’d let my family down, like the pain they were about to feel was all my fault. It was a guilt that to this day lives in my heart.

The only thing that made me forget the nightmare I was living was hockey. Hockey has always been everything. Many times I questioned whether hockey was something I needed to back off from. I didn’t know if missing trips, friends, parties, family events, dates, was all worth it. During those days of agony and heartbreak, I knew it was all worth it, but even I didn’t think that hockey would end up saving my life.

I joined twitter in 2009 because I was looking to connect with more people who loved the Detroit Red Wings the way I did. I am from Calgary and missed that connection with other wings fans like myself, and twitter provided me that. I got to meet some fantastic people who weren’t only fellow fans but with the time because real friends who I cared for. Being able to share loses and wins with them, meeting them and watching the wings at the Joe together, made me not only a better fan but made me feel more like we were all a red wings family. I had a new family.

Sitting there in my living room feeling completely defeated I did something out of an impulse. I needed a bone marrow transplant. The wait list is a long one, not only that but a young female isn’t on the top of that priority list. Nobody in my family was a match and treatments in the USA were very expensive and didn’t offer enough of a match probability. I was basically resigned to wait out those months and watch my family suffer until it was my time. As my last shot, I decided to write something and post it on twitter. I never thought much of it, it was more out of desperation than anything. Social media did what we see so much of now and just spread the message like nothing I ever thought possible. 14 days. It took 14 days for me to get a phone call saying there was a match in the states who had requested that the transplant would be for me. Days after that transplant, I got to find out it was another wings fan who had seen my twitter post and decided to get tested.

It never doesn’t wanna make me cry. Everyday I think of that person and I see an angel. An angel that even though I can’t see or hug or thank, is a part of my every day life. You are in my heart and I don’t have a way to even express what you’ve done for my family and me. It’s been two years, two years that have made me grow so much. I’ve seen new places, met new people, watched my sisters get married, fell in love. That’s all thanks to you. I love you.

This story I write not for pity but for inspiration. You can never give up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t be afraid to fight for your life. Go Red Wings.

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