Hockey Fan Alerts Vancouver Canucks Staff Member to Cancerous Mole on His Neck
Vancouver Canucks staffer Brian "Red" Hamilton was surprised when a woman tapped on the ice rink’s plexiglass and showed him a note saying the mole on the back of his next could possibly be cancerous. It turned out she was right.
During an Oct. 23 game, the Canucks were taking on the NHL's newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken, when a woman behind the ice rink’s plexiglass noticed a cancerous mole on Vancouver staffer Brian "Red" Hamilton’s back, CBS News reported.
Nadia Popovici, 22, took out her phone and wrote a message in her notes app using a big font. “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!” she wrote. She found a way to get his attention on the glass during the boisterous match inside Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Lucky for Hamilton, he took notice, The New York Times reported.
“I felt bad at the moment because I'm walking off the bench and she put her phone up to the glass and on the phone it said 'the mole on the back of your neck is cancer.' And it threw me off," Hamilton told Associated Press. "So I kind of just shrugged and kept going. My initial response when I found out was I felt bad because I felt like I didn't really give her the time of day. I'm excited that she knows because she needs to know."
Hamilton then went to the doctor and found out the mole did contain cancerous cells, CBS News reported.
He was told by his doctors the cancer in the mole could have become life-threatening in a few years if it hadn't been addressed, CBS News reported.
"It was only on the outer layer of my skin," Hamilton told the Associated Press. "It hadn't penetrated to the second layer of my skin and that's because we caught it so early."
On Saturday, the Canucks posted a letter on their website detailing what occurred just a few months prior in hopes that the young fan would see it. Sure enough, she did, and Popovici and Hamilton were able to connect, CBS News reported.
The pair met for 90 minutes Saturday in Seattle again as the two teams faced off for the second time this season.
“The fact that I got to look him in the eye and hear what happened from his perspective,” Popovici told the Associated Press. “Imagine how jarring that is to for you to be at work and someone just kind of looks at you and says, ‘Hey, maybe you go see a doctor.’ That’s not what you want to hear. So the fact that I got to see him and talk to his family members that have been really impacted by him dodging a big bullet that’s so special.”
During the match, the Kraken acknowledged the story and gave Popovici a hero's welcome with the arena applauding her and her efforts. The teams also announced they are giving her a joint gift of $10,000 to help with her medical school expenses, CBS News reported.
Hamilton, who has been with the Canucks for nearly 20 years, said he was amazed Popovici was able to even notice a mole he had no idea existed because he was wearing a big coat, CBS News reported.
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