Local cancer survivor handed autographed stick by Leafs' Mitch Marner
It was a magical moment for a 12-year-old from St. Marys at Scotia Bank Arena in Toronto on Monday night.
Brock Chessell is a cancer survivor, and he was given autographed stick by his favourite player during warmup.
"Marner signed it right here before he gave it to me…He used it warmup,” Chessell says, showing of the stick at his home on Tuesday.
Prior to Monday’s game between the Maples Leafs and Ducks, Mitch Marner spotted the 12-year-old holding a sign that read "Mitch, I beat cancer."
He signed the blade, and delivered it across the ice and over the boards to the boy.
"When we went down to glass, I just put up the sign and I saw him skating over,” Chessell says.
“He pointed at me, and he threw the stick over the glass and I was amazed and excited that he gave me the stick…He’s really good with fans, he does a lot for them.”
Speaking to TSN, Marner said he saw the sign and, “It’s pretty impressive seeing how many kids battle cancer, still come out and still be so happy…It’s a blessing playing here, and that’s something I get to do every day.”
Chessell was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer 18 months ago and started heavy chemotherapy treatments.
But that didn’t work. The family consulted with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto as a last ditch effort.
His mother, Julie Chessell explains, "We were talking palliative options, and we kind of knew where Brock was going to be buried…He ended up being on the list for a deceased liver donor…Six weeks later he was called for a transplant.”
While he is cancer free, there is always a fear the liver could fail. He requires trips to the clinic, daily pills, and weekly blood work.
But in many ways, he's a regular 12-year-old boy, going to school, playing video games and hockey.
His mom says he now has a goal to give back by encouraging everyone to be an organ donor and hopes to raise awareness about organ donation for pediatric cancer.