When Alyx Delaloye was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2014, her mom, Jody, had a vague idea of the bad times that lay ahead for her daughter: chemo treatments, sometimes daily; trips to the hospital in Winnipeg, 2½ hours from home, sometimes more than once a week; hair loss, nausea, time away from school.
She had no idea of the good.
The first bit of good news came when Alyx, 7, won tickets to a Winnipeg Jets game last February. She brought with her a sign to show her devotion to the team:
“Chemo by Day, Jets by Night!”
A cameraman in the stands saw the sign, and Alyx ended up on the jumbotron. Fans gave her a standing ovation, and players for the Jets and Dallas Stars paid their ultimate tribute, tapping their sticks on the ice.
Keaton Hamin, 9, was watching at home.
Touched by Alyx’s sign, the Jets invited the Delaloyes to their next game. Keaton was in attendance, too, in the same section as Alyx, and was lucky enough after the game to get the stick of the game’s second star, Tyler Myers. Spotting Alyx nearby, Keaton turned to his father, Ken, with a request.
“When he first asked if he could give the stick away, I was amazed,” Ken said. “I explained he could do whatever he wanted. I was kind of blown away that he would do something like that.”
Keaton followed Alyx to her seat, handed her the stick and got a hug in return. The exchange was caught by a local news camera, then went viral.
“I started getting phone calls and texts the next morning from media wanting to talk to Keaton,” Ken said. “Social media spread it like wild fire. Keaton said to me, ‘I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s just a hockey stick.’ I said, ‘No, Keaton, it’s what you did with the stick.’”
And as Jody said, “It’s the stick that keeps on giving.”
Keaton soon got a replacement stick, signed by all the Jets and compliments of T.J. Stroud, who won the stick at an auction. T.J. wanted to pay it forward as an example for his three children.
Alyx and Jody are in demand as guests at cancer fundraisers, where their story has helped raise thousands of dollars. “We both get tired physically, but you don’t get tired of your daughter inspiring others,” Jody said. “The fact that a little boy helped a little girl who was sick goes straight to people’s hearts. It’s a positive story of Alyx’s spirit and Keaton’s generosity.”