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Jets fan gives woman with cancer a game to remember

by Jason Friesen @NHLJets /

They don't call Manitoba "friendly" for nothing.

When Winnipeg Jets fan Ryan Delong found out that none of his friends could go to the November 18 game vs. the New Jersey Devils with him, he got the idea to give his extra ticket to somebody who normally wouldn't have the opportunity to go to a Jets game.

He created a posting online for the seat, asking people to explain why they deserved the ticket. In the end, it was Leslie MacKay, a single mother battling breast cancer and lymphoma.

"Immediately I knew, this is the person I'm taking," Delong said, who has had both his mother and mother-in-law pass away from cancer. "And with it being Hockey Fights Cancer month, it just felt like it was perfect."

Instagram from @ryanjetsdelong: Jaimie, the nominator. Leslie, the nominee and me #hockeyfightscancer

But Delong was impressed with the generosity of others too. He ended up raising more than enough money from random donors to buy MacKay a Dustin Byfuglien jersey, as well as various other items from the Jets Gear store, and food before and at the game.

After going out for lunch with Leslie and one of her friends, Delong said the game couldn't have been better. And, neither Delong nor MacKay anticipated the surprise that was coming their way once they sat down in their seats. They were presented special Jets Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys on behalf of the Winnipeg Jets. "They had it all up on the scoreboard, and it was just really special."

On top of all that, Delong said people were constantly coming up to them during the game to pat them on the back and give them hugs.

Instagram from @ryanjetsdelong: Strangers yesterday. Friends today. #gojetsgo #winnipeg #hockeyfightscancer @nhl @nhljets

"Leslie couldn't stop smiling," Delong said.

In addition to the money he raised for the Byfuglien jersey, the generosity kept on flowing, as two more people offered tickets to Delong. The first had two more tickets to the November 18 game, which Delong gifted to MacKay's friend and her friend's boyfriend. The other donor gave Delong tickets to a game in February. Delong plans to take the "runner up" from his original post.

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