Cindi Opdyke has been loyal to the Anaheim Ducks ever since she became a fan of the team in 2008. Ryan Kesler recently returned the favor.
After theDucks website chronicled Opdyke's fandom, her appreciation for Kesler's game and detailed her latest health scare, Kesler took notice. He called Opdyke and offered meet her and her husband Bryan after the Ducks game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 17.
Opdyke is a cancer survivor, but doctors recently found a desmoid tumor that requires her to again undergo chemotherapy to limit the tumor's growth. She is in her ninth season as an Anaheim season-ticket holder and even had a Ducks-themed wedding in December. The couple still regularly attend Ducks home games at Honda Center despite the physical toll the chemotherapy takes on her body.
"Being able to go and do treatments, and then go straight to a hockey game, you don't have to drag me there by my ears," Opdyke said in a video posted on the Ducks website. "I personally put my story out there to try and inspire people to know that it's OK to have days where you're not feeling good, … but it's all about getting up and fighting, you know like Ryan Kesler."
In his call, Kesler told Opdyke she was an inspiration to the team, and they gave her upgraded seats for the game against Carolina. After Anaheim's 4-1 loss, Kesler posed for pictures and signed sticks and a jersey, which she subsequently wore to her next round of chemo.
"If you lose the game, you pick yourself back up, and you keep on going. You go to the next treatment just like you go to the next game," Opdyke said. "The whole Anaheim Ducks organization has overdone themselves, and everybody has just been so amazing. I'm so blessed and so thankful for the opportunity. I'll never forget it."