Joyce Kettelberger sparked an unexpected friendship last December that gave her an extra boost during a difficult time.
Recently home from a short hospital stay after a major heart attack in early September, Kettelberger, from southern New Jersey, had a gift waiting for her on behalf of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere's family.
"I had my Shayne T-shirt on because I wear it around the house and a package came and I opened it up and it was a women's shirt with 'Team North America' on the front and it said 'Gostisbehere' on the back," Kettelberger said.
Kettlelberger's husband Bill posted a video on Twitter of her celebrating a Gostisbehere goal and it got the attention of Gostisbehere's aunt Lisa Quinter, who lives in Fort Lauderdale Fla.
"I told her the only difference between your celebration and mine is I've got a glass of wine and you have a beer," Quinter said.
They began texting each other on game days and a couple of months later when Kettelberger attended Flyers forward Claude Giroux's bowling fundraiser event, she introduced herself to Gostisbehere.
"I could tell he just looked nervous and out of place because he was still pretty new," she said. "I walked right up to him. He didn't even know where to go and I said 'Hey Shayne, can I grab a picture with you?' And I said, 'Your Aunt Lisa and I are sort of friends now,' and he said, 'Oh my god you're the lady in the funny video.'"
Throughout the season Kettelberger collected Flyers memorabilia at games and events and mailed them to Quinter to give to Gostisbehere's family in nearby Margate, Fla.
So when Quinter saw on Facebook that Kettelberger was in the hospital and that she'd had a heart attack, Gostisbehere's family knew they had to do something.
"Forget flowers or candy," Quinter said. "If we get Joyce anything, it has to be Flyers."
The Team North America shirt seemed fitting because the roster features Gostisbehere and Flyers forward Sean Couturier.
"I'm glad she got the [shirt]," Gostisbehere said. "She's very nice."
"We're happy she's doing well," Quinter said. "And we're happy she's wearing her North America shirt."