Players from the Langley Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) and their families are holding a fundraiser Sunday to support a fellow player after learning he was diagnosed with cancer.
Markus Janssens was taken to hospital after experiencing a shortness of breath during his LMHA Bantam A2 hockey tryouts, where he successfully earned a roster spot, according to Aaron Sproule, president of the association.
On Sept. 18 the Grade 9 student learned his respiratory problems were attributed to a cancerous tumour above his heart.
Since that time Janssens has been undergoing treatment and the league is working to support the teen and his family.
On Sunday (today) players and families from around the LMHA will be hosting a fundraiser at the Langley Sportsplex at 20165 91A Ave., rink three.
Puck drop is 3:15 p.m.
The idea for the hockey game came from Jasha Bichin, a player in the LMHA, according to Tannis Holm, who helped organize the event today.
“I just know that the hockey community… everyone just remains caring and supportive and at the end of the day all of us just want the best for everyone’s kids… even though half of us haven’t met him or his parents we all just want to step up and [show] support and love – we call ourselves a hockey family,” she said.
Holm’s son plays goalie in a younger division and said he has never met Janssens, but the news about Janssens’ cancer still had an impact.
“It rocks all of them, even the kids that don’t know him,” she said.
Since Janssens’ diagnosis, his mom, Annika, has had to take a leave of absence from work, according to Sproule. The money raised will help support the family and offset the cost of hospital parking.
“We are so unbelievably grateful and forever humbled by the generosity of the community around us and we will never forget how we were helped,” Annika told the Langley Advance Times. “We will give back or pay it forward in spades however we can once we make it through this.”
The family is expected at the game today where Janssens will participate in a ceremonial puck drop, according to Holm.
Players gearing up for the hockey game today all made a minimum $20 donation, but Holm said many have been raising money beyond the minimum amount.
There is little overhead for the event because of donations made by Langley Sportsplex who is providing the rink and Levy’s Source for Sports who printed T-shirts, according to Holm.
Money raised from the event today will be contributed to a GoFundMe campaign that was started by the LMHA late September. The page has raised more than $31,000.
For updates on Janssens or to make a donation visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/gn22uw-markus-janssens-needs-your-help.