GLENDALE – The Coyotes hosted two very special guests from HopeKids at Friday’s practice and invited them to participate in the annual team photograph.
Twins James and Carlie Moffitt, who at age two were diagnosed with Primary Immunodeficiency Disease, sat front and center, on the laps of Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, for a unique version of the picture.
“It was so cool,” James said. “We love them one million percent!”
The six-year-olds wore matching Coyotes jerseys – signed by Doan – and were amazing bundles of energy during their visit. In addition to posing for the photograph inside Gila River Arena, they toured the arena, watched practice from front-row seats and interacted with the coaches and players as they made their way on and off the ice. They even spent some quality time on the ice with Doan after practice.
“I like Shane Doan a lot because he’s cool,” Carlie said.
Doan, a father of four, was all smiles as he played with the twins on the ice.
“That was fun,” Doan said. “They just have those personalities that you just want to hug them. They’re pretty special.”
Born two months premature, the twins have defied the odds. Since being diagnosed they've endured more than 80 infusions of donated immuneglobulin (IGG), countless IV's and blood draws, and spent months on home isolation. This past August, however, they were deemed “healthy enough” to attend public school and later were cleared to attend their first public sporting event, a Coyotes game with tickets donated by the team to HopeKids.
“James and Carlie deserve to have a little bit of fun,” said Olivia Campos, the team’s Director of Community Relations. “They scream their hearts out when they come to games and they’re in the stands with everyone else. This gives them a chance to be up close and personal with the guys that they’re cheering for, and also for the team to get to meet some of their big fans. It’s really a cool opportunity all the way around.”
Stephanie Wilson says her children enjoyed the experience.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “Days likes this give them just something to look forward to. So many times they feel different and kind of left out. Things like this make them feel, instead of being left out, that they’re highlighted. It’s really amazing to see them come out of their shell, and not just think about the medical side of things and be afraid to be around public people. To come out here it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for them. Carlie told me this morning this was her best day ever.”
To learn more about HopeKids visit www.hopekids.org