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Blackhawks, Make-a-Wish Foundation team up to brighten child's day

Battling common variable immune deficiency, 9-year-old skates with team before game against Golden Knights

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Colman Kuzniar was in need of a pick me up, and the Chicago Blackhawks provided just that, making the youngster's dream come true.

Kuzniar, a 9-year-old dealing with common variable immune deficiency, wanted to skate with his favorite team. On Saturday, he got that opportunity.

As part of the Make-A-Wish Illinois program, Kuzniar watched practice and then skated with the Blackhawks as they prepared for their game against the Vegas Golden Knights at United Center on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, WGN, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV).

Kuzniar, who lives in Westchester, Illinois, about 15 miles west of Chicago, was diagnosed with CVID when he was six months old. CVID leaves the immune system unable to defend against bacteria and viruses, resulting in recurrent and often severe infections.

Kuzniar's mother, Jamie, said Colman recently had a change in treatments and now must receive infusions once a week instead of once a month. Having his wish granted lifted his spirits.

"With the cold-and-flu season, he'll be out of school and home schooled by a tutor and he was very, very sad about all of this," Jamie said. "Then he found out about the Blackhawks and it's really motivated him to get through. So, we're very, very thankful."

Kuzniar spent the last 15 minutes of Blackhawks practice skating with the team, beating goaltender Cam Ward on a goal or two and talking with his favorite player, captain Jonathan Toews.

"[Toews] just wanted me to beat him in a faceoff, which I did," Colman said. "I just love the Blackhawks and I love skating, so I wanted to be a Blackhawk for a day."

Colman also got an autographed puck from Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. 

"I feel like we're in a privileged position to kind of influence or bring a smile to their face," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "In our situation, we feel lucky to be able to do that sort of stuff. You always feel for the kid. Some of us have kids of our own and it's tough seeing that sort of thing. It's nice to bring a smile to a face and see him happy and just excited to be out there and enjoying himself."

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