Boston, MA --
Six is a good number, especially in the eyes of Katy McLean. It was her number on her varsity hockey team (she plays defense), and it’s also that of Dennis Wideman, her favorite Bruins player.
You see, the two "sixes" first met a few weeks ago, while the Bruins were doing a Valentine’s Day appearance at Massachusetts General Hospital where McLean is a patient.
Just after Christmas, Katy was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been receiving treatment, including blood transfusions and platelets, at MGH since then.
After Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers, Katy, along with her parents Jeff and Estelle McLean, and her grandfather Gus Cournoyer, met with Wideman, who chatted with the family and signed photos and a shirt for Katy.
It was a celebration for the McLean family as Katy’s 16th birthday was Monday. To add to the similarities between the two defenders, Wideman’s birthday is also this month, on the 20th.
“[Six] is a good number,” Katy and Wideman agreed.
“Tonight, she even had seat number six,” her mother added.
In reality however, every day is a celebration for the McLeans.
“Basically, her body is destroying its own bone marrow,” explained her mom, Estelle.
“I should be in a bubble,” Katy explained.
Her body is more susceptible to injury now, which means her hockey career has been put on hold. She was playing for the Fontbonne Academy varsity team before she began treatments, and used to play with the Hyde Park Youth Hockey teams.
Katy continued going to her team’s home games, but could not attend away games because of the potential dangers of traveling.
|Katy McLean |
But with Katy cheering them on, the Fontbonne Academy team made it to their league’s finals, although they lost in the last round just last week.
Tuesday night, the teenager joked around with her favorite player, and they all discussed the game and the ever-pressing playoff race. Katy had a huge smile on her face the entire time, and, so we’ve heard, was still “grinning ear-to-ear” even today.
Wideman said the team realizes the importance of doing appearances and charity events in the community, like the promotion at which he met Katy.
“You have to go and support people that are a little less fortunate than you,” he said.
And, of course, Katy's smile could certainly bring the B's some luck down the stretch.