Victoria ‘hockey mom’ cancer diagnosis leads to ice-hockey fundraiser

Victoria 'hockey mom' cancer diagnosis leads to ice-hockey fundraiser

WATCH: A Victoria woman is teaming up with the hockey community to help raise money for a cause that hits close to home. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Dianne Small is no stranger to the hockey rink.

“We’re a hockey family,” Small said.

A self-proclaimed “hockey mom,” Small has watched her two sons grow up on the ice.

“I love her,” said son Keegan Small. “I have a lot of respect for her.”

“She’s definitely my hero,” explained her eldest son, Aiden Small.

Small was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in December 2016.

Told she only had months to live, Small reached out to the local hockey community for support.

“I learned that many members of my hockey community were also suffering from various forms of cancer,” Small said.

Two years after that difficult day, she started Play for a Cure, an ice-hockey fundraiser for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

“I wanted to do something to support all the family members that were affected by this disease,” explained Small.

Their first-ever fundraiser took place Friday night at the Q Centre Arena.

Proceeds from Juan de Fuca Midget exhibition game and the Victoria Grizzles 50/50 draw were donated to the cause.

“The players were invited to play in memory of somebody or in support of somebody who is battling cancer,” Small said. “They wore stickers on their helmets to show who they were  dedicating their game to.”

They’ve extended the challenge to other minor hockey associations on Vancouver Island in the hopes of making it an annual fundraiser.

“Cancer is something that unfortunately affects lots of people in our society,” Aiden explained. “You don’t really realize that until it touches your family.”

Small says she is doing well in the midst of three rounds of treatment.

Despite the cancer now spreading to her lungs and bones, she’s taken away a message that she’ll forever cherish.

“For me, in the diagnosis was a gift,” said Small. “It has changed my outlook on life. I believe in celebrating every moment.”

The start of a fundraiser that is truly a team effort in helping others facing the same fight.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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