AURORA — Most hospital patients like visitors. But when that visitor is Colorado Avalanche star and team captain Gabriel Landeskog? That will really lift your spirits.
As part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, “Landy” took pictures and signed autographs with cancer patients at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora Thursday afternoon. He also listened to their survival stories.
“My white blood counts are up, and my platelets. We’re going to do another transfusion just before I get to check out of here just to make sure everything is good,” said Jennifer, a patient who was set to be discharged from the hospital hours after Landeskog’s visit.
Jennifer and all the other patients are hockey fans on this day. But it wasn’t until he walked into the last patient room – that he met some real super fans.
They don’t get any more hardcore than Ruthie Parrish and her son Alex. They eat, breathe and sleep hockey. Alex has played goalie all his life. And this visit from their hockey hero comes at the perfect time. Ruthie has stage four colon cancer.
“I had my surgery on Monday, they removed a tumor from my liver, and I’ll have another surgery down down down the road and I want to come right back here because they’ve taken such good care of me – everyone seems super sweet,” Ruthie said.
Her goal was to get out of the hospital, so she could see her beloved Avs play at Pepsi Center this week.
“(Alex) already had tickets for tomorrow. My whole goal was to be out so I could go to the game. Everyone thinks I’m nuts – like, ‘You just had surgery, you’re going to go to the game?’ I’m like ‘yeah,'” Ruthie told Landeskog.
Not only is she going to the game, but Ruthie and her son also got autographed jerseys to wear for the official Hockey Fights Cancer match-up against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals.
They’re not the only ones inspired by this hospital visit.
“To see how inspiring they are and how excited they are to beat their cancer and to start feeling better and to get to go home, that’s very inspiring. It’s a very humbling experience. It warms your heart,” Landeskog told FOX 31.
And for Alex and Ruthie Parrish? Today’s pictures, autographs and handshakes with their hero are like a third-period hat trick.
“It’s all about her through all of this. She’s the one battling and she’s been so strong, and she keeps doing better and better. So seeing my favorite player shake hands and meet my mom was so special. It’s incredible. So to answer your question seeing Landy meet my mom was something I will never forget. Always cherish,” Alex Parrish said as he choked back tears.