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Sabres Make Lancaster Boys’ Dreams Come True

Ryan and Jake
Photo by CH

Some things matter, some things don’t. We all know that deep down, all of life’s daily stresses generally don’t end up meaning much. Still, we worry. Every once in a while there’s something that reminds us what is truly important in life. For my family and many of our friends, this reminder came three years ago… and it’s one that will stay with me forever.

Let me take you back to a warm Spring day in April, 2008. My son and one of his best friends had baseball practice. The pair showed up at my house afterwards, and spent the afternoon in the backyard enjoying one of the first warm sunny days of the season. I’ll never forget Ryan and Jake knocking on the back door, covered in mud. They had pulled the hose out to play…  clean clothes were needed.

About a week later, Jake’s mother choked back tears on the phone as she told me Jake had been diagnosed with Leukemia. I tried to stay calm. There were just no words to help her at that moment. I remember wondering what I could do for her, for Jake? How would I tell Ryan? I remembered that warm spring day a week ago and wondered how life could change so quickly?

My husband, Jerry, told Ryan the terrible news.  I remember Ryan asking me, ”What’s leukemia?  Is it cancer?”  The days and weeks went by and we tried to answer all of his questions as honestly as possible, always telling him to pray for the best for Jake.   He prayed. 

Jake went through numerous treatments at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  Jake’s Mom and Dad, Lisa and  Mike, and his little sister, Laura, were amazing.  I really don’t know how they held themselves together. 

Ryan was one of several friends who would visit Jake both in the hospital and at home over the next few months.  The two of them always seemed to find a reason to smile together. 

Ultimately, Jake received a bone marrow transplant. Today, three years later, he’s holding his own. Jake’s healthy. He missed a year of school, hockey and baseball, but now he’s back. The boys are still friends, although they don’t get to see each other as much because they’re in different grades and on different teams now. The memory of Jake’s struggle will stay with us forever. When things go wrong, I think of Jake and try to remember that “some things matter, some things don’t.”

Why am I tell you all of this? We were watching the Sabres game the other night – and there on the TV was Jake skating with some the team! Jake’s Make-a-Wish came true:

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