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Fight against childhood cancer bolstered by Predators gift

Oct. 31, 2019, 9:34 AM

Nashville Predators mascot Gnash and goaltender Pekka Rinne, joined by Children’s Hospital mascot Champ, pose for a photo with patient Charlotte Merryman, 17 months, and her mom, Shelby, during a recent visit to Seacrest Studio at Children’s Hospital.
Nashville Predators mascot Gnash and goaltender Pekka Rinne, joined by Children’s Hospital mascot Champ, pose for a photo with patient Charlotte Merryman, 17 months, and her mom, Shelby, during a recent visit to Seacrest Studio at Children’s Hospital.

by Christina Echegaray

The Nashville Predators hockey team, longtime supporters of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and its programs, presented the hospital with the proceeds raised throughout the year from the team’s 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund.

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and executives from the Predators and  (Twice Daily) joined team mascot Gnash and Children’s Hospital leadership to celebrate the team’s gift of $550,365.19 in cash donations and in-kind contributions raised through the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily.

The funds will be used to support pediatric cancer research, to identify new ways of curing childhood cancer and to deliver these treatments in an optimal way for each child.

The Predators organization also announced it will commit $300,000 over three years to support Children’s Hospital’s Soaring Higher, Dreaming Bigger: A Campaign Against Childhood Cancer. The campaign will help create the Pediatric Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital by expanding and upgrading existing space as well as supporting research, training and programs.

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.

“The Nashville Predators’ support for the hospital and patients and families has been unwavering over the years,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of Pediatrics, pediatrician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital and James C. Overall Professor. “There was a time when only about 10% of children survived childhood cancer. Through advancements in research, treatments are getting better, and now, nearly every child survives. That’s made possible because of investments from organizations like the Nashville Predators and businesses like Tri Star Energy/Twice Daily. We are thankful for everything they do.”

Following the presentation, Rinne and team mascot Gnash, who make frequent visits to Children’s Hospital along with other Predators’ players, visited with patients and families and participated in an interview in Seacrest Studio.

New this season, a Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt patient is featured on the jumbotron as a Vanderbilt Health Champ of the Game.
New this season, a Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt patient is featured on the jumbotron as a Vanderbilt Health Champ of the Game. (photo by Kelsey Herbers)

“I feel I should be the one thanking everybody. Myself, my teammates, we absolutely love this hospital. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to follow my passion with the 365 Fund,” said Rinne.

As part of the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily, Rinne purchased a suite at Bridgestone Arena that accommodates 16 children and families from 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% of the money raised will go to the fund.

Throughout the 2019-2020 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. 2 and Feb. 22, 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.

In addition to their gifts, the Predators have supported Children’s Hospital in many ways, including players’ frequent visits with patients at the hospital; Flashes of Hope and Beads of Courage programs for patients; and new for the 2020 season, each home game features the Vanderbilt Health Champ of the Game, where fans are introduced to a patient from Children’s Hospital via the jumbotron.

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