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Predators’ gift bolsters fight against pediatric cancer

Oct. 18, 2018, 8:24 AM

From left are Tri Star Energy’s Jeff Williams, Meg Rush, MD, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, Debra Friedman, MD, Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, and Predators CEO Sean Henry. (photo by John Russell)

by Christina Echegaray

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, Predators executives and executives from Tri Star Energy (Twice Daily) made their annual presentation recently of proceeds from the team’s 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Rinne, joined by team mascot Gnash and Children’s Hospital leadership, celebrated another record-setting gift of $325,365.18 in cash donations raised through the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily. The funds will be used to support pediatric cancer research. Over the past eight years combined, the team has given more than $2 million in donations and in-kind contributions to the hospital and its programs.

“Almost every day, a child is diagnosed with cancer in this hospital — about 200 cases a year. That is a really devastating statistic. We are here to care for those children and we are here to cure those children,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, Pediatrician-in-Chief, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and James C. Overall Professor.

“Many years ago, only about 10 to 20 percent of children survived their cancer journey, and now that number has increased to almost every child. Research, education and advances in clinical care have made that possible, and we are dedicated to making sure every child survives. The support of the Nashville Predators and Tri Star Energy/Twice Daily has been an instrumental part in furthering our commitment to discover better treatments and potential cures. We can’t thank them enough for all they do.”

Following the presentation, Rinne and Gnash, who make frequent visits to Children’s Hospital along with other Predators’ players, spent time meeting and talking with children and their families inside Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital. The team also brought along and showcased its 2018 Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the NHL team that finishes the regular season with the best overall record.

“Any time you have an opportunity to come here and see the kids, and not only the kids, but their families, you can feel that maybe two minutes makes their day a little bit better,” Rinne said. “You get to see a few smiles, and you can’t even imagine what some of these families and kids are going through.”

Speaking about the record donation amount, he added, “It’s pretty amazing, just seeing that check. It’s pretty mind-blowing and unreal that it’s grown that much. It’s very humbling, but at the same time, I’m very proud to be part of it. That’s a big thank you to the whole community.”

As part of the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily, Rinne purchased a suite at Bridgestone Arena that accommodates 32 children and families from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for all Predators home games.

A night at the suite includes food and beverages, knee hockey with a real goal light and 365 Fund T-shirts and postgame meet and greets. On select nights, the suite will be auctioned off and 100 percent of the money raised will go to the fund.

Throughout the 2018-19 season, Rinne will continue to join forces with the Nashville Predators Foundation to raise money for the fund through Hockey Fights Cancer nights, special auctions and more.

On Hockey Fights Cancer nights, scheduled for Nov. 3 and Feb. 23, 2019, pediatric patients from Children’s Hospital will be invited to the game and will participate in a ceremonial puck drop, ride the Zamboni and much more. All money raised during the games, a night dedicated to the young patients battling cancer, will benefit the fund.

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