Cape Breton high school hockey squads team up to fight cancer in honour of Kellen
Published Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:17PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:18PM AST
More than five years ago a Cape Breton community rallied behind a little boy's courageous battle with cancer.
Sadly, seven year-old Kellen Surette lost that battle in 2013.
Wednesday night, the high school team his father coaches and their opponents took a stand against cancer in Kellen’s memory.
The Sydney Academy Wildcats stepped onto the ice wearing special orange and black jerseys in honour of Surette.
Their opponents were the Glace Bay Panthers, but Wednesday night’s game was more than just a game as both teams were playing for Team Kellen.
“My daughter and Sheldon are very strong people,” said Barry Martin, Kellen’s grandfather. “They went through this. I don't know what it's like to lose a child, but even to lose a grandchild was a heart-wrenching thing.”
Surette was seven years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. After a short fight, he tragically died in September of 2013.
During that time the support grew beyond anyone's expectations.
“It really was a lift. You couldn't believe what was happening. The community rallied together, money coming from everywhere. It was just amazing,” said Martin.
Across the ice, Michael Doucet remembers Kellen's courageous battle fondly; that's because he was in Grade 12 at time and was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma himself.
The two young boys shared a benefit dance together and Michael is now cancer-free and was happy to be part of the special night.
“It was hard,” Doucet said. “There was a lot tired and weak nights that everything felt horrible, but at the same time it brought a lot of people together. It was a memorable time, I'll say.”
The game of hockey has a way of bringing people together. Wednesday night, the stands here were filled with emotion, as family, friends, and fans held signs in memory of loved ones, taking a stand together against cancer.
But the most touching moment of all might have been when Kellen's younger brother, Jonah stepped on to the ice for the pre-game skate wearing Kellen's number 8.
“Little heart wrenching, I think, but it's good, it's good,” said Martin.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.