The Vancouver Canucks receive a ton of snail mail every day and the majority of letters are requests of one kind or another: can I have Roberto Luongo’s autograph? Can Alex Burrows come to my birthday party? Can I have tickets to the Stanley Cup Final?
Josie Pareja’s letter was different.
The 68-year-old just wanted to say thank you.
When Pareja was diagnosed with uterine cancer last October, it shook her to the core. Gravitating to what she knew and trusted, the Richmond resident relied on family and the Canucks when times got tough.
The mother of two and grandmother of three had surgery to remove a tumour from her uterus on November 12th and the next night she was already up wandering around Vancouver General Hospital in search of a TV showing the Canucks game.
Vancouver beat Toronto that night and the win was much more than two points to Pareja, it boosted her spirits and gave her hope. With three chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments on the horizon, she began planning her life around the Canucks.
December 3 – Chemo treatment – Vancouver beats Chicago.
December 23 – Chemo treatment – Vancouver beats Columbus.
January 14 – Chemo treatment – Vancouver beats Washington.
Pareja then vistited BC Cancer Agency five days a week for five weeks, so scheduling that itinerary around the Canucks was impossible, but if she could have, she would have.
“I can honestly say to myself that the only reason I was able to go through my treatments successfully was the thought that I would come home every time to watch the Canucks play,” wrote Pareja.
The Canucks are a lot of things to a lot of people, especially this time of year with Vancouver on the cusp of something amazing, but even playing the Blue Jackets on a Thursday, they meant the world to Pareja.
“The radiation treatments took a heavy toll on my body and there were times when I wanted to give up treatments. However, the Canucks games that I would always look forward to watching inspired me to keep going and finishing off my treatment.”
Like the Canucks, the future appears bright for Pareja as well.
“I am happy to say that I am now done with my treatments and am hoping that I am completely healed and on the road to complete recovery.
“Now there is nothing I want more than for them to bring home the Stanley Cup to Vancouver.
“Go Canucks Go.”