Boston, MA – Hundreds of children and their families found respite on the TD Garden ice this weekend, where they were able to take a break from battling serious illness and, at least for a moment, remember what it feels like to be carefree.
The Boston Bruins Foundation partnered with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to provide an afternoon of relaxation and fun for children who are suffering from severe medical conditions. In addition to their time on the ice, the guests enjoyed arts and crafts, caricatures, clowns and games.
The Bruins Ice Girls and Bruins Legends Bob Sweeney, Barry Pederson, Johnny Bucyk and Tommy Songin were on hand to meet the families.
“The Starlight Foundation, we supported them through a grant last year and they’re a great organization,” Sweeney, now the director of development for the Boston Bruins Foundation, said.
“They help out so many kids that don’t have the normal upbringing that our everyday children would have and it’s good that we got a strong group of alumni to come out and support this event.”
For 25 years, the Starlight Children’s Foundation has helped seriously ill children and their families cope with their challenges through education, entertainment and interaction. Their mission to connect families facing similar obstacles has since extended around the globe with programs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.
Hockey Hall of Famer and fixture in the Bruins organization Johnny Bucyk said he was just happy to be there to support such a worthwhile cause.
“You try to give something back to the community,” he said. “I look at those families and I feel like I’m lucky.
“What they have to go through and what they put up with, it’s hard for them and hard for the kids. I’m just happy that I could do something and be part of it.”
The afternoon was part of the “Great Escape” program; activities that are designed to allow the children to feel special while doing extraordinary things, while helping their families create precious memories outside the walls of a hospital or clinic.
Tommy Songin said he was grateful for the opportunity to help.
“To see these kids come in here, knowing what they’ve gone through their whole lives and what they’re going to have to go through is tough,” he said.
“To have a day like this to get some freedom and to get some fun and to get to skate, it’s very important to us and it makes me happy just watching it.”