Ducks add fan battling cancer for third time to opening night roster (vids)
The Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night continued a fantastic and heartwarming tradition started in 2015 by naming a fan who “who exhibits great perseverance, character, courage and inspiration” to its opening night roster.
The fan afforded the honor of being named the “21st Duck” this season is 17-year-old Katie Hawley. And to say Hawley deserves it would be an understatement, as she is currently is battling the cancer for the third time in her young life.
Katie Hawley is an inspiration to all of us. If you were lucky enough to be here, there wasn't a dry eye in sight. Check it out. pic.twitter.com/yCcKMKdiCQ
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 6, 2017
Originally diagnosed at the age of nine, Hawley learned in 2016 her cancer had returned. She told her parents upon the latest diagnosis that she “didn’t want to fight anymore.” But the 17-year-old was inspired to continue her battle after meeting Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, who happens to be her favorite player.
Katie Hawley, diagnosed with cancer a third time, told her parents she wanted to give up.
She says @RickyRakell93 helped her fight again. pic.twitter.com/edoMr9b5fx
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 4, 2017
The Ducks found themselves down 4-1 to the Arizona Coyotes in their season opener at Honda Center before rallying from the three-goal deficit to win a 5-4 thriller. Rakell fittingly notched the game-winner with 3:30 remaining in regulation. And Hawley joined her favorite player for the post-victory interview.
Rickard Rakell and the 21st Duck Katie Hawley after the #DucksOpeningNight win! pic.twitter.com/etllGjieDW
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) October 6, 2017
Via the Orange County Register:
“It’s kind of a Cinderella story, I guess,” Rakell said after completing the Ducks’ improbable – and yes, fairytale – 5-4 win. “It couldn’t have ended any better.”
Added Katie, with a voice hoarse from all the delightful shrieking, “I knew he was going to score. I knew he wanted to so badly.”
According to Puck Daddy, Hawley has undergone “at least a dozen surgeries, two dozen chemotherapy sessions, 30 radiation treatments, 80 scans, and 40 blood transfusions” in beating cancer twice. While she’s still undergoing treatment, Hawley intends to attend college next year.