LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH) – Heroes of all kinds gathered at the ice rink Sunday for the second annual NC4K and Hockey Helping Heroes Heroes and Legends Tournament, a face-off between the Columbus police and fire hockey teams as well as former professional players.
The event was held to raise money for children with pediatric cancers.
While people were there to watch the game, the event was really about creating memories for the young cancer survivors.
The game kicked off with childhood cancer survivors stepping on the ice to be recognized, with one of them having the honor of dropping the puck to start the game.
“When they are in treatment, their lives are turned upside down, so being able to come to an event today to know that people love them, support them, and want to help them through their journey and do it with their friends, it’s really just the best,” NC4K Executive Director Mandy Powell said.
In addition to the police officers and firefighters, former Columbus Blue Jackets and Ohio State University players also took part in the event.
The kids said these first responders are their heroes, and everyone else in the room believes that, too, but the real stars of the show were the children.
“I would absolutely consider them heroes,” Powell said. “I mean, their bravery, their tenacity, their perseverance, to me, it is just really exceptional.”
Organizers of the event said it was all about showing the kids they have a community that believes in them.
“Anytime that we can raise money for these kids and these families that are fighting cancer, we will do that every day, all day long,” said Don Zender, director of the First Responder Faceoff Foundation.
All of the money raised at the event will benefit NC4K and Hockey Helping Heroes.
NC4K uses the money to provide financial and emotional support for families and events for families of children being treated for cancer in Ohio.
Hockey Helping Heroes provides scholarships to children of first responders who become severely injured or disabled in the line of duty, helps fund efforts in early detection of health and occupational illnesses including cancer, financially helps families of first responders in times of tragedy, and more.
“I think it feels like, I don’t know, they have this community around them that is rallying for them and that they matter and that the community really believes in them and is here for them,” Powell said.
For the first time, three women played in the Heroes and Legends game.