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Hockey Fights Cancer

Vernon Fiddler of Devils reunites with biggest fan

Former Stars forward, 9-year-old leukemia survivor Chloe Brown catch up before game Tuesday

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Chloe Brown has been saving her quarters since July 1.

The 9-year-old gets a quarter each day for doing various chores around the house. And each quarter has been carefully saved so she could buy a ticket to the game between the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW).

That's because this is the only game her favorite player, Devils center Vernon Fiddler, will play in Dallas this season.

"She's been saving for this since he signed [with New Jersey]. She even saved up enough to buy a puck [at the team store]," her mother, Rhonda Brown, said.

Chloe and Fiddler have a special relationship dating back to his time with the Stars.

When he was in Dallas, Fiddler and his wife, Chrissy, began a program known as "Fidd's Kids." Through a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, Fiddler donated 12 tickets for each home game to local children.

That's how Chloe attended her first Stars game. She has since turned into a hockey fanatic and often attends the Stars practices in Frisco, Texas, when she doesn't have school.

And before a game on Feb. 25 last season, Fiddler tossed a puck over the glass toward Brown. Rhonda caught the puck and handed it to Chloe.

It was an emotional moment caught on video that only scratched the surface of Fiddler's impact on Chloe, who has endured a difficult battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a form of cancer that affects white blood cells, whose primary function is to help fight infection.

When she was 15 months old, Chloe was diagnosed and she completed her first round of chemotherapy and went into remission when she was 2.

When she was 3 the cancer returned, and Chloe was on an alternate form of chemotherapy she completed on Sept. 8. She is in remission once again with no evidence of the disease.

"She's a girl that has inspired a lot of people in Dallas," Fiddler said. "She's battled a lot in her young life, more than she ever should."

Video: NJD@DAL: Stars' welcome back tribute to Fiddler

Chloe is undoubtedly Fiddler's biggest fan. Each morning when she wakes up, she checks the scores for both the Stars and the Devils in the NHL App on her iPad before going to school. Her math notebook is filled with hockey references, the No. 38 comes up often, and her room is decorated with Stars and Fiddler souvenirs.

That's why coming to see Fiddler play against Dallas was so important. Before the morning skate Tuesday, Fiddler presented Chloe with a Devils jersey, which he had promised to bring her after he signed with New Jersey on July 1.

Chloe originally planned on saving her quarters to buy a new Fiddler jersey.

"The day he went to the Devils, we had a meltdown in the house, we were done for the day," Rhonda Brown said. "But he FaceTimed with her and said he would get her a new jersey. She was going to save up for a jersey, but then she started saving to go to the game."

For Fiddler, delivering the jersey was a special moment during his return trip to Dallas, a place his family still calls home.

"She's a special fan of mine," he said. "That's the plan, to bring her the jersey and get her cheering for the Devils. She's a great little kid and it's always nice to see her smiley face."

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