I’ve missed hockey. Of course, this minor inconvenience pales in comparison to the devastating losses many have been forced to deal with in the wake of COVID-19. And with so much focus and attention on this pandemic, I realized that Hockey Fights Cancer Month has come and gone this year and I barely even noticed.
I’ve always enjoyed the spectacle of being at Bridgestone for a night of hockey, but the experience of being there on Hockey Fights Cancer Night has always been a few steps beyond for me. As a member of a family that’s been impacted by cancer, the sadness, inspiration, and hope presented on these nights have taken on great meaning for me. Seeing an entire arena full of rowdy fans take a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to cancer, to stand in that silence and moment of reverence and reflection, truly helps demonstrate the widespread impact of this disease.
Of course, Hockey Fights Cancer Month has always been about more than remembrance; it’s also about making a difference. “Months” and “Nights” are nice, but just because November ends doesn’t mean cancer stops. The Nashville Predators started a program several years ago to ensure that the fight against cancer—specifically pediatric cancer—doesn’t start and end with one month each year.
The 365 Fund, a legacy project started with Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, works to ensure that the awareness and the quest for a cure continue all year long. The name itself comes from the jersey numbers of the fund’s founders: Pekka Rinne’s 35 and former Predators captain Shea Weber’s 6. And, even though Shea Weber now wears the C for the Montreal Canadiens, he still stays up to date and involved with the Fund in Nashville.
The aim of the 365 Fund is to embrace the children going through treatment, while also bringing their families into the fold of the team in a way that focuses on enduring relationships beyond a hospital visit or a Zamboni ride on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Beyond that, the Fund also provides grants to continue medical research seeking the cure for the many types of pediatric cancer that are treated at the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Another major aspect of the the 365 Fund is providing playrooms at the Children’s Hospital. Many pediatric cancer patients stay at Vanderbilt for the duration of their treatment. As a result, their entire life is housed in the hospital. These playrooms allow the children to have a bit of an escape from the world of the hospital, and give them the chance to play and just be kids in spite of their medical circumstances. I can imagine how much more limited these children are in their interactions with family members and visitors due to the pandemic, making playrooms such as these all the more critical for their mental and developmental health.
While it’s true that cancer doesn’t end just because November is over, it’s also true that cancer hasn’t stopped for COVID-19. The Nashville Predators and the 365 Fund have not only maintained their commitment to this cause, but have increased their commitment to it for this exact reason. However, the pandemic hasn’t been the best backdrop for fundraising.
The Predators organization held Hockey Fights Cancer auctions throughout the month of November and opened a HFC store to help raise money in the absence of any on-ice activities. In spite of everything going on in the world, the team—which should be getting back on the ice soon—wants to finish the year strong and has set a goal to raise and additional $36,500 dollars by the end of the year. The team has set up a GoFundMe account to help accomplish this, but we here at On The Forecheck want our community to get involved. We have set a goal to help raise 10% of the amount, and we have prizes as an incentive. At first, $3,650 dollars seems like a lot to ask for, but I know we have a lot of readers out there!
Looking back at the year we’ve had in Nashville, the city has been a true symbol of community and resilience. We’ve seen the community come together after a devastating tornado, we’ve suffered through an ongoing pandemic, and joined hands to help clean up the city after nights of civil unrest. Here, right as we come to the finish line of 2020, let’s come together one more time and help make a difference for these kids.
How to Enter
All you have to do is follow the link to the Predators’ GoFundMe to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Once you do, you can share your participation via various social media networks. To be eligible for our prize drawing, you’ll need to do one of the following:
- Twitter: Post a screenshot or picture of the receipt for your donation using the hashtag #OTF365 and tag me @SCSOTF and On The Forecheck @OnTheForecheck.
- Facebook: Post a screenshot or picture of the receipt for your donation as a reply to this article’s post on Facebook.
- Other: If you don’t use either of those social media sites, post a screenshot or picture of the receipt for your donation as a reply to this article!
- Please, whether you decide to donate or not, share this article or a link to the GoFundMe on social media so we can reach as many citizens of Smashville as possible.
You may black out all or part of your name, the donation amount, etc. on the picture. Only share as much of the receipt as you are comfortable sharing—we just need to see that you made a donation, at all, of any amount, in order to enter you for the prizes.
Only one entry per donor—if you are able to donate more after your initial donation, that’s fantastic, but we won’t count the second donation as a second entry if you send in another screenshot.
We have been very fortunate to have several of our staff members, as well as the Nashville Predators themselves, donate some exciting prizes. Sharing proof of your donation as mentioned above gives you a chance at one of the following:
- One of two pucks, autographed by Pekka Rinne. (Donated by the Nashville Predators.)
- A Viktor Arvidsson bobblehead. (Donated by the Nashville Predators.)
- An incredible 2004 playoff banner signed by David Poile, Barry Trotz, Gnash, Craig Leipold, and Ed Lang. (Donated by Eric D.)
- A Kyle Turris bobblehead. (Donated by Bryan B.)
- A mini Shea Weber bobblehead. (Donated by me.)
Thanks to all the donors!
Of course, all entries must be received by midnight (CST) on December 31, 2020.
Here’s the link again: Click Here To Donate.