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Letang donates time, check to young cancer patient

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Seven-year-old Ian Rosenbaum first met his idol, Kris Letang, in September. 

The Stoystown native was in Pittsburgh for an appointment at UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh where he was diagnosed with a form of T-cell leukemia. He attended a morning skate and requested a stick from his favorite player: Letang. But when Letang found out about the struggles of his biggest fan, he requested to meet with him as well.

"For kids to go through this, it's just harsh," Letang told the Tribune-Democrat. "Any way I could help, I felt I would do it." 

Letang has kept his word. 

In November the All-Star defenseman attended a fundraiser for Ian held at Pasquerilla Center. A silent auction was held and the Johnstown Tomahawks donated $1,000 raised from a chuck-a-puck contest. 

That evening Letang and Ian, wearing their own Tomahawks jerseys, both fashioned with No. 58 of course, took the faceoff for the ceremonial pregame puck drop at 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial. 

And last Thursday, Letang wrote a check - for $58,000 - to help with his medical expenses. 

"It has been amazing, overwhelming," said Ian's mother Joelle. "For Ian to go through this and for someone like Kris to take time for our child is simply amazing."

Letang didn't just write the check, but hand delivered it to the family and Ian personally following the team's Thursday afternoon practice at PPG Paints Arena. 

"Kris is a true hero to Ian," Joelle said. "He definitely looks up to him. He talks about him every time he's at Children's (Hospital) to all the nurses. That's something he will remember forever." 

Ian was sporting his No. 58 jersey and hat again on Thursday. And it's something he hopes to keep forever.

"I want (58) to be my number," said the aspiring defenseman. 

And with Letang's help and inspiration, hopefully Ian can wear 58 for many years to come. 

"We are very blessed to have Ian," Joelle said. "We were totally in shock when he got diagnosed with leukemia. His body gave us no signs. It was a total shock. He has been a trooper through it. God has blessed us with the road ahead and the people and community, our support from the hockey organization and the church has been amazing."

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