NEW YORK -- Kevin Shattenkirk saw the success Anders Lee had raising money for pediatric cancer research by hosting a Kan Jam event and immediately became intrigued.
Shattenkirk, a defenseman for the New York Rangers, wanted to know how he could get involved. He had never met Lee, a forward and captain of the New York Islanders, so he reached out via direct message on Instagram.
Each has held individual held Kan Jam charity events since, but together they raised $30,198 for the Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation at the Versa rooftop at the Renaissance Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Saturday.
"Anders and I have both had a lot of fun and a lot of success with our events, and we love the fact that we keep growing and getting bigger and better," Shattenkirk said. "This is the essence of Kan Jam, being outside on a beautiful day.
"Anders and I are obviously bitter rivals on the ice, but this is something that we're obviously both passionate about. We've had a lot of fun doing this."
Raising money for pediatric cancer research has become particularly important to Lee after he formed a friendship with Fenov Pierre-Louis, an honor student from New Jersey who caught his attention in a 2016 video that discussed his life since being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, at age 9.
Pierre-Louis was 17 when he died on July 18, 2018. A banner with his picture hung at the event to honor his memory.
"I'm reminded of him every day," Lee said. "Anytime we do a Kan Jam event, I always know he's with us and looking down.
"When the idea came to us, it was pretty easy to say yes. Everyone's trying to support the kids and families and we're doing what we can."
Shattenkirk, who grew up in New Rochelle, New York, about 20 miles from New York City, was hoping to find a way to help others in the area after signing a four-year contract with the Rangers on July 1, 2017. His goal was to do something outside the norm, an event that was out of the ordinary. Kan Jam, which involves a frisbee that players must deflect into cans, fit the bill -- especially after Shattenkirk saw the success Lee was having raising money at his events.
Since 2017, Shattenkirk and Lee have raised more than $600,000 for New York-area families affected by cancer. The Jam Kancer in the Kan Foundation Fund has raised more than $1.1 million to benefit charities and organizations that provide support to families affected by this disease by staging Kancer Jam fundraising events in communities and NHL cities.
"When I signed with New York, I wanted to do something in the community," Shattenkirk said. "I saw Anders' event and I had seen some highlights from it. It was unique and something that I really wanted to try. It wasn't the same as your standard golf tournament. It's very approachable, it's very casual and laid back, and I think that's what everyone takes out of it."