Along with scoring goals for the winning team to having his loved ones go through his first All-Star weekend with him, there was a lot more that stood out for the Anaheim Duck’s Rickard Rakell during his time spent in Tampa, Fla.
Perhaps nothing made the whole experience of being an NHL All Star more memorable than having Courageous Kid Katie Hawley by his side. The two have become supportive friends from the moment her favorite Ducks player was given a window into her battle to Never Ever Give Up!!!
At age 9, Katie Hawley was diagnosed with Ganglioneuroblastoma. The past eight years have been full of surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions. Katie is a Courgeous girl who Never Ever Gives Up.
Katie, a huge Ducks fan – especially of Rakell was chosen as the 21st Duck for this hockey season. The Anaheim Ducks Hockey team made Rickard Rackell aware of Katie’s story and Hawley, who lives in Ladera Ranch, was escorted onto the ice at Honda Center by the winger and Ducks teammate Corey Perry during player introductions on opening night as she was made the team’s honorary “21st Duck!”
The two first met when Rakell surprised Hawley at the Jessie Rees Foundation, where Katie who is college-bound often donates her time to help others fighting cancer between her own doctor visits.
“It’s been very inspiring and obviously emotional for everybody who knows her story,” Rakell said. “Any time I can help and put a smile on her face and making sure that she’s doing alright, I think that’s great for all of us.
“It helps me as well, just to see how she is fighting and how strong she is as a person. How she carries herself around and being supportive to everybody around her. It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch her. When I got this chance, it was more than right to bring her along and to experience the whole thing for me. Put a smile on her face and her family. It was awesome to see them there.” Rakell even said the highlight of his All-Star weekend was hosting Katie!
We are so thankful for the kindness of the Anaheim Ducks and Rakell for taking our Courageous Katie in as one of their own! Katie, you are a rockstar! STAY STRONG, KATIE!!!
"It has meant everything everything to me. @RickyRakell93 has been so generous and so kind to me, and has just gone above and beyond."
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) January 28, 2018