Ice hockey fan discovers cancer mole playing and sends a life-saving message

Ice hockey fan discovers cancer mole playing and sends a life-saving message


Nadia Popovici kept looking from the hockey game to Brian Hamilton’s neck.

Mr. Hamilton, an assistant equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks, had a little mole there. It measured about two centimeters and was irregular in shape and reddish-brown in color – possible features of a cancerous birthmark, signs Ms. Popovici recognized during her volunteer work as a nursing assistant in hospitals.

Maybe he already knew? But if so, why was the mole still there? She concluded that Mr. Hamilton did not know.

“I have to tell him,” Ms. Popovici, 22, told her parents at the NHL game between the Canucks and the Seattle Kraken on October 23 at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

Ms. Popovici typed a message on her phone and waited for the game to end. After waving several times, she finally caught Mr. Hamilton’s attention and placed her phone against the perspex.

“The birthmark on your neck may be cancerous. Please go to the doctor! “The message with the words” mole “,” cancer “and” doctor “in bright red.

Mr Hamilton said he looked at the message, rubbed the back of his neck, and moved on. He thought, “Well, that’s strange.”

Ms. Popovici said she regretted the news and thought at the time: “Maybe it was inappropriate for me to bring this up.”

After the game, Mr. Hamilton went home and asked his partner if she could spot the mole. She could. He asked the team doctor if it was worrisome. It was. After removing it, he waited for the biopsy results to see if the fan sitting behind the team bench was right.

Indeed, Mrs. Popovici was right, and she had just saved his life.

“She got me out of a slow fire,” said Mr. Hamilton at a Messages conference on Saturday, his voice trembled at times. “And the words from the doctor’s mouth were, if I ignored this for four to five years I wouldn’t be here.”

Specifically, the doctors later explained to him that it was malignant melanoma type 2, a type of skin cancer that, because it was detected early, could be easily removed and treated.

“As with many other types of cancer, the success of the treatment or cure for melanoma often depends on the stage of the disease – and the earlier you find something, the better,” says Dr. Ashwani Rajput, director of the Johns Hopkins-Kimmel Cancer Center.

Mr. Hamilton recalled the doctor telling him, “I will diagnose you with cancer and cure you of cancer in the same phone call.”

Knowing he was fine, Mr. Hamilton asked the Canucks franchise to help him find the woman he described as “a heroine”.

Mr. Hamilton has a. written Letter That was posted on the team’s Twitter account on Saturday, saying, “You have changed my life for this woman I’m looking for, and now I want to find you to say THANK YOU! The problem is, I don’t know who you are or where you’re from. “

It took less than three hours to find Ms. Popovici, who slept at her home in Tacoma, Washington, that afternoon after working overnight as a crisis intervention specialist on a suicide prevention hotline.

She woke up texting and missed calls from her mother, Yukyung Nelson. “I think she was just shocked,” said Ms. Nelson.

Ms. Popovici, who had already planned to attend Saturday’s game between the Canucks and Kraken in Seattle, was invited by both teams to meet with Mr. Hamilton.

He had just finished a press conference on what had happened. Regarding Ms. Popovici, he told reporters, “My mother wants her to know that she loves her.”

Later that afternoon he repeated the message personally to Ms. Popovici.

“It was the cutest thing when you talked about your mother,” she told him when they first really met.

Both teams at the game presented Ms. Popovici with a combined scholarship of $ 10,000 to use for the cost of medical school.

“Some people say this won’t even be a drop in the ocean, but believe me, it feels like everything,” she said. “I am really so grateful.”

She watched the game from the same seat on which she had spotted the mole. Everything, she thought, had gone right that day: a budding medical student had sat close enough to a team bench that a deputy equipment manager luckily wasn’t wearing a jacket big enough to cover the cancerous mole on his neck.

“This whole experience was so rare,” said Ms. Popovici. “And I’ll just appreciate it.”





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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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