Kelly Tracer, Photo courtesy of Tony Villalobos-May/Colorado Eagles and Ashley Potts/Colorado Eagles.
Patients enjoy unique bonding experience in team locker room before major overhaul, as Eagles move to American Hockey League after 2nd consecutive Kelly Cup win
LOVELAND, Colo. (June 25, 2018) – Joined by their families, friends and medical providers, a team of cancer survivors celebrated their victories against the disease with a championship “champagne” celebration with the Colorado Eagles in the hockey club’s locker room this evening. It was the very last celebration to be held there before extensive renovations as the team heads to the American Hockey League.
For years, the Colorado Eagles have been rooting for UCHealth patients who have been fighting cancer, visiting with them as they underwent chemotherapy treatments at the UCHealth Cancer Center, cheering them on as they exercised at The Wellness Place, and giving them rides on the Zamboni or the opportunity to drop the puck at their annual Hockey Fights Cancer nights. Fresh off of their second consecutive Kelly Cup championship win, the Eagles worked with UCHealth to create a unique victory celebration for cancer survivors this evening.
“My wife and I will remember this night for a long, long time. Seeing all of this support from UCHealth’s cancer team, the Colorado Eagles and other survivors gives us strength in knowing that we are not alone. This monumental celebration allows us to reflect on everything we’ve accomplished and share in that joy together,” said cancer survivor Seth Dorris, a 30-year-old U.S. Army veteran who was diagnosed with B cell lymphoma and starts radiation next month after recently completing his sixth round of chemotherapy at UCHealth. “The UCHealth Cancer Center staff also deserves special recognition. We have been very impressed with how talented, caring and intelligent every one of the nurses have been throughout my treatment.”
“UCHealth teams up with strong community partners like the Colorado Eagles to offer our patients extraordinary experiences that create meaningful, lasting memories,” said Kevin Unger,president and CEO of UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies and UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. “Improving lives for our patients goes beyond the clinical setting. This unique opportunity with the Eagles honors the milestones our cancer survivors have reached with an exuberant celebration designed to recognize victory.”
Several UCHealth patients, their guests and their providers were treated to a true locker room championship celebration, including popping “champagne” (sparkling cider) bottles, inspiring words and cheers from the Eagles, celebratory music and, of course, the Kelly Cup.
Breast cancer survivor Nina Rentschler, a UCHealth patient who recently had surgery after finishing her 16th round of chemotherapy, was joined by her husband and 11-year-old daughter at the event. “Good can come out of any situation – even cancer. Tonight’s locker room celebration makes us feel like we are the champions of our own personal cancer battles,” Rentschler said. “Learning about other cancer survivors’ journeys and lifting each up other – like we are all on a winning championship team together after a hard-fought season – is truly special. We’re so grateful to be part of an organization that recognizes everyone as people and not just patients.”
The Eagles have been a longtime supporter of the UCHealth cancer program and contributor to the Colorado Eagles Fitness and Rehabilitation Center in The Wellness Place at the UCHealth Cancer Center in Fort Collins.
“We are proud to partner with UCHealth and support their incredible patients and their families,” said Gavin Riches, assistant general manager of the Colorado Eagles. “The Eagles organization lifts up our entire community of cancer fighters and honor survivors everywhere. This is one of many unique ways we are able to help fans experience the game of hockey and connect with fellow survivors.”