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Liam Fitzgerald Honored as "Man of the Year"

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BostonBruins.com - Liam Fitzgerald stole our hearts, and he's deservedly stealing the hearts of countless others.

The nine-year-old, who battled leukemia and won his fight against cancer in 2013, has been given many honors like USA Today's 2014 Sports Fan of the Year (with 95% of the votes) and received his very own hockey card at a Bruins' game in April.

He received national attention through a viral video of him fist bumping the Bruins on the bench during a game in November 2014, and was recently featured on ESPN's E:60.

But what's so remarkable about the young man isn't so much his affinity for his favorite team in Black and Gold, as it is his passion to "bump out cancer."

In doing that, Liam received another honor on May 21, earning the title of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society "Man of the Year" after raising more than $150,000 for LLS blood cancer research.

The candidates for the award usually compete in honor of children who are cancer survivors. Leave it to Liam to take matters into his own hands, with him and his family creating a #BumpOutCancer campaign from March through May to garner donations.

Every dollar raised counted as one vote, with the candidate getting the most votes being named the Man or Woman of the Year.

In such a short time, Liam has been able to provide a lasting impact.

On his fundraising page, his mother Christine began with these words: "You never know what life will deal to you at any given time nor do you always have a choice. What you do control is how you handle or play the cards that you are dealt."

Liam was born with Down Syndrome in 2006 and diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when he was four years old. After four years of aggressive treatment, he was deemed cancer-free in May 2013.

A huge Bruins' fan from Northborough, Mass., Liam had a chance to first meet the team back in February 2014, after he dressed as Adam McQuaid for Halloween and the photo found its way to the defenseman. McQuaid invited him and his family to a game.

At the end of the 2013-14 season, Liam kept up his unwavering support for the team, helping in the campaign for Patrice Bergeron to be on the cover of the EA Sports NHL 15 video game.

In November 2014, Liam was back at TD Garden, and down by the bench for warm-ups. He got a chance to sit on the bench as the players went through their pregame routines, famously giving them fist bumps as they walked off the ice and down the tunnel to the locker room. Someone posted a video of the moment, and it went viral.

When Liam was at the Garden again in April, he was surprised with his own Upper Deck hockey card. That night, the Boston Bruins Foundation and Professional Hockey Writers Association presented a check for a $23,000 donation to the Liam Fitzgerald #BumpOutCancer Campaign.

Can't get enough of Liam and his infectious smile? Check out the videos and photos below, and send him a "Congrats!" on Twitter @FistBumpKid. Keep shining bright, Liam!

Here's a video of "the fist bump"…

Here Liam is back at the Garden (and on the bench), before receiving his hockey card…

The crowd's thunderous reaction to him receiving the card is the best part of this video…

Here's Liam supporting Bergeron...

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