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Hockey friends remember 15-year-old Calgary boy who died from cancer

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Hockey friends remember 15-year-old Calgary boy who died from cancer
WATCH ABOVE: It was last summer that 15-year-old Alec Remenda died after battling a rare form of cancer. The young Calgary teen had dreams of playing in the NHL. This weekend, the Calgary hockey community came together to support Alec's family. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports – Mar 26, 2017

The ice rinks at Vivo recreation centre in northeast Calgary were packed with more than 600 Bantam hockey players this weekend, playing in the Kids Cancer Care Hockey Tournament.

Part of the event also included a head shaving in memory of Alec Remenda. Hockey was a big part of Alec’s life. He played with the Simons Valley Hockey Association.

“He wanted to be in the NHL a lot.  He wanted to make the Flames,” Alec’s little brother Marcus said.

Shortly after Alec’s 13th birthday, he was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma.

“We were actually playing spring hockey and one day after practice he went home, had a shower and felt a lump on his collarbone. We thought we’d get it checked out and a week later we found out it was cancer,” Rick Remenda, Alec’s dad, said.

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Alec passed away last July at the age of 15.

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“It was hard on all of us. We just weren’t expecting it.  It was sort of out of nowhere but we all just came together and helped him,” friend and teammate Jacob Walchuk said.

Ever since Alec was diagnosed, his family has had the support of their hockey community. People provided them with everything from meals to hospital visits. Eventually they organized the annual fundraising hockey tournament.

“We’ve had a lot of love, which has helped us through this for sure,” Remenda said.

This weekend marks the third Kid’s Cancer Care Hockey tournament in Calgary.  There are 32 teams of Bantam hockey players from across Alberta, Saskatchewan and even one from the North West Territories.

At the centre of the event, is the head shaving spearheaded by members’ of Alec’s little brother’s team, the Simon Valley Storm.

“I really like it. I like how my team is here with me so that I’m not alone,” Marcus said. “I like how they’re supporting me. I think it feels really nice.”

Marcus was one of eight kids to have their heads shaved.

Together the boys and one girl got new hairstyles and raised more than $14,000 in Alec’s memory.

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Alec himself had inspired fundraising for new Playstations at the Alberta Children’s Hospital while he was being treated there.

“That’s the type of kid he was. He was always about other people,” Remenda said. “We’re not the only ones fighting this. I’m sure there’s other people that need our support. This isn’t about us, it’s bigger than us. That’s why those eight boys are going to cut their hair today. It’s not about them, it’s not about appearances, it’s about something bigger than them. I’m proud of them for sure.”

Organizers said they raised just short of $60,000 last year for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and they expect to exceed that this year.

 

 

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