We may admire our hockey heroes as invincible warriors, but even hockey players can't escape serious illnesses such as cancer.
Today it was announced that Toronto Maple Leafs winger Jason Blake is suffering from a rare form of leukemia.
Blake has something called chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), an uncommon type of cancer of the blood cells that spreads slowly. It is reportedly highly treatable and he will not miss any time from the hockey season. More importantly, his life is in no immediate danger as he is expected to live normally for a long time, although a bone marrow transplant may become necessary later on in life.
Hockey players in the past who had cancer include Mario Lemieux, Saku Koivu, John Cullen, Milos Holan, Yanick Dupre and referee Paul Stewart. Last season Boston Bruins rookie Phil Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer. And of course many of the older generations of hockey legends are facing the disease as well.
The 2007-08 season marks the 10th anniversary of the NHL/NHLPA joint charitable initiative Hockey Fights Cancer. To date, more than $9 million has been raised to support national and local cancer research institutions, Children’s Hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.
One of this season's fund raising initiatives is the new book Reflections On A Hockey Season. I have a book review over at Hockey Book Reviews.com
Also see: Donate directly to Hockey Fights Cancer