MONTVALE, N.J. — St. Joseph's Regional High School student Alex Walsh honored his mother’s memory when he dropped the ceremonial first faceoff puck during the New Jersey Devils loss Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Prudential Center in Newark.
“Being on the ice was such a surreal moment, actually,” Walsh, of Fair Lawn, said after the Hockey Fights Cancer event. “The whole arena was dark except for the ice. I couldn’t believe I was walking down the red carpet with every player looking at me.”
A Devils fan, Walsh used to watch and go to games with his mother, Dianna, who died of colon cancer a year ago.
“I know she was watching down on me,” Walsh said. “I know she was rooting the Devils on from Heaven.”
Walsh’s aunt, who is a breast cancer survivor, and his father, Bill, who survived kidney cancer, were also at the game.
Bill was diagnosed during the time Dianna was battling colon cancer. He went to three different doctors who said it was nothing until he pushed for a CT scan.
“If it wasn't for my mother and the awareness she brought to the situation, he wouldn’t have gotten it checked out,” Walsh said. “I thank God and my mother every day. My mother ultimately saved my father.”
Walsh started a Cancer Awareness Club at St. Joe's this semester for students dealing with cancer or who have a family/friend who is. Membership has grown to 20.
“It’s crazy to think that a lot of people think they are alone,” Walsh said. “There are so many people in this world going through the same thing. We want to always help them and support them and keep them mentally strong.”
The Hockey Fights Cancer night has already raised more than $30,000. More will be raised from a warm-up jersey and stick auction .
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