CHICAGO -- More than 20 people who are battling cancer, are in remission or lost a loved one to the disease were honored at the third annual Purple Carpet, part of the Chicago Blackhawks' Hockey Fights Cancer night before they played the Los Angeles Kings at United Center on Sunday.
"NHL on NBC" analyst Eddie Olczyk and former Blackhawks forward Adam Burish emceed the event. Olczyk, the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador for this season, later signed copies of his book, "Eddie Olczyk: Beating the Odds in Hockey and In Life." A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
"You're seeing people who have gone through three or four different illnesses and then you see 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, young people," Olczyk, who was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2017, said of the honorees. "That's really hard and life is not fair. But we have to be strong for them, we have to fight for them, we have to give them hope, give them strength and let them know, whether we know them or not, that we're there for him and something like this, I mean it's so important to everybody."
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce U.S. chief information officer Bess Cummings also presented the Blackhawks with a donation of $20,000 for their foundation to aid in the fight against cancer.
Video: LAK@CHI: Benoit Savard drops the ceremonial puck
Benoit Savard, 12, of Levis, Quebec, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 9 and has been in remission for a year, was honored. Savard skated with the Blackhawks as part of his Children's Wish Foundation of Canada experience on Friday and dropped the ceremonial puck at the game.
Linda Buckman of Mundelein, Illinois, who has beaten lymphoma, breast cancer and melanoma, was also honored. Buckman is currently getting treatment for leukemia, which she was diagnosed with three years ago, but is in remission.
"This was worth all the treatment; the [Blackhawks] are a great organization and this just takes your mind off everything," said Buckman. "We go to the cancer survivor walks in the city, and it's just amazing to see the hundreds of thousands of people who are beating it. There's good hope for people."
Video: LAK@CHI: Blackhawks honor brave kids battling cancer