ST. ANTHONY, N.L. – The Newfoundland and Labrador minor hockey community has rallied around one of their own, a St. Anthony girl battling cancer.
Rebecca Wiseman, 14, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December and has since been undergoing chemotherapy treatments in St. John’s.
As she battles the disease, her teammates in her hometown are letting her know they have her back.
The St. Anthony Polars minor hockey teams are showing their support for Rebecca by wearing patches on the front of their jerseys, reading “No one fights alone.”
Cara Hancock, president of the St. Anthony and Area Minor Hockey Association, says they chose the patches to show the hockey community was there for her and her family.
But the show of support has spread beyond the local hockey league through the entire province.
Hancock estimates more than 70 minor hockey teams across Newfoundland and Labrador have purchased and will be wearing the patches on their jerseys.
She thinks that number will only grow.
“It’s phenomenal to see the level of support,” she told The Northern Pen. “We were hoping we would get extra interest, but we didn’t dream it would go this far.”
The patches were donated by TNT Marketing and proceeds from the sale of the patches will be donated to the family.
Rebecca’s mother, Shawna, has been touched by the show of support, noting over 2,500 patches have now been sold.
The midget hockey league her brother, Lucas, plays for in Corner Brook also made a donation to help the family with their stay in St. John’s.
She says they’ve received countless messages as well, sometimes from minor hockey families they don’t even know.
“All the support she’s been getting has just been phenomenal,” Shawna told The Northern Pen, speaking by phone from St. John’s. “There’s no way to thank everybody enough.”
While Rebecca wasn’t available to speak to The Northern Pen, her mother says her daughter feels the same.
Rebecca recently surprised some of her Polars teammates when she showed up for the opening ceremony of the Under-15 female provincial hockey tournament in Corner Brook on March 30.
Rebecca dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff and was presented a banner, reading “No one fights alone.”
She also stayed on the bench for one of the games with her teammates, who didn’t have enough players for their own team but joined Lewisporte for the tournament.
“It was hard for her not to be able to play but it was nice to have all the support there behind her,” said Shawna.
According to her mother, Rebecca has played hockey since she was three years old.
She’s played a number of tournaments throughout the province, including girls Under-12, girls Under-15 and the winter games in Deer Lake last year.
She played Triple-A Peewee for two years and Triple-A Bantam for one.
Rebecca is undergoing four cycles of chemotherapy; so far, she has completed two 28-day cycles and is currently undergoing the first of two 21-day cycles.
The family recently learned she won’t have to undergo radiation.