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Nashville Predators honor late CEO of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt at Hockey Fights Cancer game

Oct. 31, 2019, 4:04 PM

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekke Rinne took the ice during Hockey Fights Cancer Nov. 2, wearing a helmet with the initials “LG,” a tribute to the late Luke Gregory, CEO of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by John Russell)

by Christina Echegaray

When the Nashville Predators hockey team took the ice Saturday, Nov. 2, they wore helmets with the initials “LG” inscribed inside a purple Hockey Fights Cancer ribbon.

The letters honored Luke Gregory, chief executive officer for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, who died Oct. 18 after a lengthy battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Children’s Hospital patient ambassador Katie Shepherd, who served as Mayor of Smashville during Hockey Fights Cancer, drops the puck with the Predators’ Roman Josi, left, and New York Ranger Jesper Fast.
Children’s Hospital patient ambassador Katie Shepherd, who served as Mayor of Smashville during Hockey Fights Cancer, drops the puck with the Predators’ Roman Josi, left, and New York Ranger Jesper Fast. (photo by John Russell)

The Predators’ Hockey Fights Cancer game against the New York Rangers also raised funds for the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund at Children’s Hospital, an initiative Gregory was passionate about.

“What we have created with our partnership with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on so many fronts, but especially through the 365 Fund and our Hockey Fights Cancer nights, would not have been possible without the vision, passion and creativity of Luke,” said Sean Henry, the Predators president and CEO.

“He positioned us and all of the supporting programs for success and always had a long-term vision to make each tangential initiative drive toward our ultimate goal —raising the funds necessary to continue to move research forward while making each child’s day better through our interactions. He was truly a special man, and all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him will miss him.”

The Gregory family was invited to participate in Saturday’s game. During the game, the team payed tribute to Gregory on the jumbotron. The former CEO of Children’s Hospital since 2011 was continuously focused on serving the heath care needs of children and families from throughout Tennessee and surrounding states.

“Our family is overwhelmed to see Luke’s memory honored in this way,” said Susan Gregory, his wife of nearly 40 years. “Luke was a humble man who always wanted attention to go to others. He would be floored by this incredible gesture from the Nashville Predators. And, I know exactly how Luke would respond. He would want all of us to roll up our sleeves and, on his behalf, relentlessly support and care for any person facing a cancer diagnosis.”

During Saturday’s Hockey Fights Cancer game, Nashville Predators’ players will wear helmets inscribed with the initials “LG,” honoring Luke Gregory.

The Nashville Predators also called on fans to assist in the fight against childhood cancer, creating opportunities for them to make donations in buckets at the entrances to Bridgestone Arena and around the concourse. Also, at concession stands, fans were able to add $1 to their purchase as an additional donation.

Hockey Fights Cancer games, dedicated to young patients battling cancer, are held twice a year, with the next one scheduled for Feb. 22, 2020. Pediatric patients from Children’s Hospital are invited to the games, with a patient ambassador participating in a ceremonial puck drop, riding the Zamboni and more. All money raised during the games benefits the fund.

“We always look forward to the Hockey Fights Cancer games that highlight our partnership with the Predators, and more importantly, celebrate our pediatric cancer patients. Luke loved these games,” said Meg Rush, MD, interim president of Children’s Hospital.

“He so admired the courage all our patients show, but especially our cancer patients. As he walked his journey with cancer over the past several years, he drew strength from our pediatric cancer patients and committed even more to our cancer programming. I’m grateful to the Predators for honoring Luke as they continue to raise funds to carry on our vision to fight pediatric cancer,” Rush said.

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