Hello and welcome to my Annual Hockey Fights Cancer Tournament. I created this tournament because I know how events like this create a great and fun way of raising money for a wonderful cause right here in the Ottawa and surrounding area. The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation states, within the next 10 years 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime. Lets put on our skates and have fun fighting this terrible disease.
I’ve created this tournament for many reasons. I know that everyone has been affected or suffered the cancer disease in some way or form in their past or present.
My story is actually quite simple. Both my grandma and grandpa Duff died of cancer, my grandmother was in her mid sixties when diagnosed and passed away at the age of 71 and grandfather was 81 and died 18 years ago. My husband’s family history where cancer is concerned goes like this; his grandmother died of lung cancer the same day as Terry Fox she was only 54, his great grandfather died of Hodgkins disease, he was in his mid 40’s and his great grandmother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 36 which left his grandfather and 4 siblings orphans. This information is from a long time ago and the treatments have come along way. However, there are still so many people who are being diagnosed on a daily basis and we need to ensure treatments still keep getting better.
To bring us to the present and the stories that affect me to most and my biggest reasons for doing this tournament.
My father-in-law Michael Tremblay told by my Mother-in-Law Heather Tremblay: Mike was diagnosed with Sarcoma in October of this year, they removed a 10cm tumor from his shoulder along with two lymphnods. he has had 28 sessions of radiation and is now in recovery mode. He is one of the lucky ones, they are 99% sure they got it all. Thanks to people like you and the fund raising you do, we have one of the best facilities in the World for Cancer treatments. Keep up the good work Catherine. I know how much work goes into this. You are more appreciated then you know. Love Heather Tremblay
My father Allan Duff went through prostate cancer as well as his brother Mike twice. When my father was diagnosed they had recently moved to Ottawa. Dr. Kathryn McFarland our family GP ordered the PSA test as part of his annual checkup. Thankfully with such an important test for men she detected the cancer early and proved how great a Doctor she really is. He was first diagnosed on March 17th, 2005; she referred him to all the right doctors’ right here in Ottawa and with time, patience, endurance and lots of family and friends supporting him he survived the battle with the invasive treatments which lasted 2 years. Both my father and my uncle are here thanks to the PSA test and early detection. It was very difficult to watch especially my father go through such an ordeal. Thankfully he is well again and can enjoy watching his grandchildren grow up. My father still has his PSA test every 6 months now as preventative treatment.
Michael Georges Saikali, Born: May 14, 1998
Team: Gloucester Rangers Major Atom A, Position: Defence
Favourite Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma November 26th, 2008
In the fall of 2008 while playing football with friends, Michael was hit in the neck by the point of the football. Michael noticed a bump after being hit but we thought it was a bruise and would go away. It did not go away and it started to bother him while playing hockey, so we took him to our paediatrician. He was concerned with the lump and immediately scheduled an appointment with a surgeon at CHEO.
The CHEO General Surgeon we were dealing with appeared very concerned and suspected lymphoma after a number of scans and x-rays. He then scheduled an appointment for day surgery on November 21st in which he removed the enlarged lymph node and sent it for biopsy. On November 26th, we were informed by the General Surgeon that the results did confirm lymphoma. We were shell shocked, confused and lost in emotion. On December 1st, we were informed by the Oncologists that it was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and that they needed to perform a number of scans and tests to determine how far advanced it was or what stage the lymphoma was at. Test results showed that his lymph nodes in his neck and chest were affected and they also determined that the lymphoma was in 2 vertebrae. Based on these findings, he was therefore categorized a ‘Stage 4-A, Intermediate Risk’ for treatment protocol purposes.
The battle against cancer started off on a positive note. The CHEO Foundation provided us with tickets to the Dec 6th Sens vs. Pens game in Ottawa. A fellow hockey dad worked his Blackberry overtime and was able to get us to meet some of Michael’s favourite Pens players after the game. Michael and his 2 brothers got pictures with Mark Andre Fleury, Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, Eric Godard, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. What a way to start the fight against Hodgkin’s.
Treatment started on December 19th, the same day he had a port-a-cath surgically implanted. Needless to say, Christmas would have a different feeling to it this year.
The hockey community did not hesitate to show their support in Michael’s fight against this cancer. The Gloucester Rangers Minor Hockey Association asked all the Ranger players at all levels to tape their sticks with yellow tape in show of support for Michael. That was overwhelming and a very moving gesture. The kids did not think twice and all his teammates on the Rangers Major Atom A team taped their sticks yellow and wrote his jersey number #13 on their sticks.
A Ranger player from the Major Atom Peewee AA team suggested to his coach that they should start a fund raiser on behalf of Michael, so they did. His idea was to collect money from the parents every time a Ranger player scored. The fundraiser was named ‘Goals for Cancer: Change Matters Challenge ‘. A special thank you goes out to Matthew Van Wort for his leadership on this initiative.
Our fellow hockey parents showed their support by providing us with a number of prepared meals. Friends and family were also there for our other 2 boys when we were busy with Michael. We also had our driveway shovelled and snow-blowed when we were at the hospital with Michael.
Michael’s teammates had their own fundraiser called Haircuts for Cancer in which they raised over $700 in two hours as most of Michael’s teammates, coaches and fellow Rangers shaved their heads in show of support for Michael.
Leitrim Minor Hockey Association has also contributed to the fund-raising efforts by raffling off a BBQ donated by Climec Residential Inc. Funds were matched by Climec and donated to Candlelighters of Ottawa (www.candlelighters.net), a total of $1300 was donated for # 13-Michael Saikali.
On January 13th while in hospital for treatment, Michael received in the mail a personalized inspiring letter and autographed photo from the Pittsburgh Icon, Mario Lemieux. When he opened it up that day, you could see the excitement in his eyes. The Power of Pittsburgh Penguins had given Michael the energy he needed and we needed to keep a positive outlook.
After 2 cycles of chemo, Michael had more scans and x-rays to determine how well the chemo was working. The results were ready the day we came in for his 3rd cycle. The results were very encouraging. Michael was categorized as a ‘Rapid Early Responder’ as the lymph nodes in his chest shrank by 60% and the 2 lesions in his vertebrae were no longer visible in the bone scan. The doctors and nurses were very pleased with his progress after 2 treatments. This was the best news we had received in a long time, we were all so happy.
Michael’s treatments are nearing the end and we hope that radiation will not be needed, but we won’t know just yet. He continues to be brave and positive and has actually begged us to go to school when he is feeling well. He also had enough energy to play a hockey game after his 2nd treatment. He played all his shifts in the last home game for the season and they won 3-0.
His team made the playoffs but he has not been able to play. He has been behind the bench with the coaches during 2 recent games supporting his team as they have supported him.
In short, the hockey community has been so supportive and continues to be. We cannot leave out the caring Doctors and Nurses at CHEO, they are truly unbelievable people!!
Please show your support for the fight against cancer and come out and play!
HELP HOCKEY FIGHT CANCER!!!
Thank you to all, Habib, France, Michael, Justin and Joshua Saikali
THANKS TO THE SAIKALI FAMILY PLEASE ENJOY THE GREAT PICTURES ON THE WEBSITE.
In 2004/05, during our son’s first year of Novice hockey (he would have been 7 at the time), a little boy on his team, Dennis Gudbranson, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (a cancer affecting his bone marrow). To watch a little person who was only one year older than our own son go through such a terrible ordeal was heart-breaking. Dennis went through five rounds of chemotherapy over a 6-month period, went into remission, relapsed the following year, underwent more chemotherapy and finally had a bone marrow transplant. Miracles do happen and Dennis is well again! He's back on the ice and is a normal 11-year old boy in grade 6. Sitting at the hospital with Donna, Dennis’ mom, was a real eye opener for me. It made me realize not only how lucky Jeff and I are to have two healthy kids, but also how fortunate we are to have a hospital like CHEO providing the best possible care for children like Dennis with Cancer.
Last year Paula, the manager of our daughter’s hockey team suffered through breast cancer. It was difficult to see a mom of two be a great mom a wonderful team manager and terribly sick all at the same time. Her strength was amazing.
My Uncle Mike Allard’s life partner Martine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and sadly died this year. She did fight the fight as hard as she could but unfortunately lost, she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
As you can see from the above I have shown how so many different types of cancer have affected me and my family personally. This is why tournaments and fundraisers like this are so important. I am not aiming for one particular type of cancer but all cancers.
I am sure anyone who reads this can add so many stories of their own just like it. I am hoping by having each team raise a minimum of $500 will create a great amount of money for such a worthy cause. Having 11 players on a team should make this an easy goal.
My suggestion would be to give each player a pledge form, receipts will be given to those with a donation of $25 or more as long as donors name and address is provided on the form. Just think of the possibilities, if a team of 11 players each player gets 5 donors of $25 each your team will raise $1,375.00. When I think of the possibilities of what we can raise with this tournament it amazes me.