BOSTON - There are not many people who go through life without being touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form.
Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes knows this all too well.
When the Dorchester native was in middle school, his mother, Shelagh, was diagnosed with colon cancer. A couple of years later, his dad, Kevin, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His godmother had breast cancer.
Thankfully, all three have recovered and are healthy and doing well.
That's what will make Tuesday night's tilt against the Minnesota Wild that much more meaningful. The Bruins will host their Hockey Fights Cancer Night, presented by Lahey Health, in an effort to raise awareness for such a terrible disease.
"When you hear the word cancer, your heart immediately drops," said Hayes, who has four siblings, including New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes. "It's always great to be there and support people going through it. It's obviously a tough fight to fight the chemo and the radiation. You can see how draining it is.
"It's tough to see your parents just fighting and being tired. But I know my Mom was still coming home from radiation and cooking dinner, bringing me to practice, and acting like nothing was going to effect the daily routine of the family.
"It's always nice to be able to go see a younger kid, as well, and put a smile on their face, knowing their fighting and KO'ing cancer."
Video: Jimmy Hayes sports a lavender suit on HFC night
Hayes will mark the occasion by wearing a custom lavender suit, designed by Evolue Apparel, before and after the game.
"I was lucky enough to get this suit tailored to fit me well and represent it tonight during Hockey Fights Cancer night," said Hayes. "I haven't [worn a lavender suit before], but there's a first for everything.
"It's pretty cool to be able to rock some lavender."
The Bruins will wear lavender jerseys during warmups and use lavender tape on their sticks throughout the game. The team's coaching staff and management personnel will wear lavender ties throughout the game, while Patrice Bergeron will host pediatric cancer patients during the game through his program, Patrice's Pals.