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Logan's turn

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Logan Johnson-Lay has been in and out of BC Children's Hospital for 10 years.

The 17-year-old from Maple Ridge was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June of 2005 and since then has undergone 157 doses of chemotherapy, 31 rounds of full brain and spine radiation and five brain surgeries.

Few people have ever fought for their lives like Logan; countless hours, days and months have been spent isolated in a sterile environment, void of much good news.

Until yesterday.

Logan was at BC Children's Hospital for a routine visit Thursday, doctors assess the chemotherapy damage and analyze her tumour to ensure there hasn’t been any growth or advancement.

At 1:45 p.m. Logan’s dad sent a text to her mom with news, news they’d somehow missed for 10 years – the Vancouver Canucks were in the building, making their annual holiday visit to the hospital.

At 2:59 p.m. the wait was finally over as Zack Kassian, Shawn Matthias, Ryan Stanton and Radim Vrbata walked into the room. A bashful Logan smiled slyly while greeting the players before they exchanged hellos. Then she posed the question every 17-year-old Canucks fan would love to ask: will you be in my Snapchat photo?

It would be their pleasure.

As the group moved on to the next room, Henrik Sedin caught up the guys after making an unscheduled stop in the hospital to see a friend. Logan approached him and again softly asked if he would be in a Snapchat photo with her. They both said cheese and Logan sent the photo off and into the phones of her friends worldwide.

Henrik laughed after saying goodbye. “Snapchat? I don’t even know what that is, I’m too old for that.”

Maybe, but you’re never too old to make someone’s day.

“We’ve always missed the visits, we just laughed about it after a while,” said Jen, Logan’s mother. “We’ve been in here so long we can remember Trevor Linden coming around, always unannounced. There was one little guy that he’d come and visit and we’d be like, ‘is that really him??’

“It’s so cool for them to take the time to do this, it’s amazing. You spend lots of time in the hospital down and out and feeling a bit sorry for yourself, so it’s nice to see some local heroes. It’s good for moral, the kids get really excited.”

Or, in the case of Noah, who was watching Mr. Bean’s Holiday when the Canucks surprised him, excited is the opposite of what he got.

During the three-minute chat Noah had with Henrik, Vrbata, Kassian, Stanton and Matthias, his blood pressure dropped to the lowest it had been all day. He was calm and relaxed and the nurses couldn’t believe it.

“Can they stay???” requested one nurse.

Unfortunately not, there were more smiles to spread, but at least Noah finally got his apology. As the youngster explained, showing me an autographed Alex Burrows card with a long inscription on it, Logan was once at the passport office with his parents when Burrows showed up. Instead of waiting in line, the Canucks forward was called to the front and processed before others.

Noah told Burrows the story and he now has a one-of-a-kind Alex Burrows card, autographed with the following inscription: To Noah, Sorry for cutting in line at the passport office. Your friend, Alex Burrows.

One can only hope this was Logan’s only ever visit with the Canucks and that Noah is budged in line more times than he can count. A hospital is no place for children to be.

Of this group, Vrbata was noticeably the quietest during the visit. As a father of two young sons, five-and-a-half and eight months old, he struggled to comprehend what these children and families go through.

“It’s not easy, you feel for the kids and for the families and there’s not much you can say, thank goodness for guys like Kassian who can jump in and make the mood a little lighter,” said Vrbata.

“It’s tough not being able to help more. Hopefully we were able to make their day a little better.”

Logan is a Snapchat legend and Noah got his apology, looks like the Canucks were successful in spreading some holiday cheer.

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