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Cancer Survivor Meets Preds, Stars Captains

Preds and Stars Fan Briar Mays Meets Two of Her Favorite Players with Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Briar Mays couldn't find the remote control to change the channel.

A 16-year-old high school cheerleader in 2014, Mays returned home from a basketball game and did what most teenagers would do - attempt to search the endless selection on the other side of the television screen for something to help her unwind. Little did she know…

"I had put my TV on and it was on a sports channel and there was a hockey game; I'd never watched a hockey game before and I couldn't find the remote, so I was like, 'well, I'll just watch this,'" Mays laughed. "I thought it was really cool, and I watched the next game and the next game and just fell in love with the sport."

She fell in love with a team too - the Nashville Predators. That first game she watched pitted the Preds against the Dallas Stars, a club that has become a close second on her personal depth chart. Roman Josi and Jamie Benn are favorite players, and she never misses a game when the two clubs get together.

Not even for chemotherapy.

A college softball player at Roane State in Knoxville, Tennessee, Mays was diagnosed with a minor injury in September of 2015. After months of physical therapy with no results, she saw an orthopedic doctor. The news was shocking.

On Feb. 2, 2016, Mays was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. A cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or in the tissue around bones, it's the second most common type of bone cancer in children, but is still rare.

On Feb. 15, 2016, the Predators hosted the Stars in Nashville, and although her doctors stressed the importance to begin chemotherapy treatments as soon as possible, Mays wasn't missing the game. She and her doctors compromised and she saw the game that night before beginning her treatments the very next day.

Now, almost a year to the day of that February diagnosis, Mays is in remission, which allowed her to visit Bridgestone Arena last Sunday to see her teams hit the ice once more - but with one small diversion from the norm.

Teaming up with Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to individuals between the ages of 5-21 who have relapsed from cancer, Mays, along with family and friends, made their way to the Arena's event level prior to puck drop, two captains waiting to greet her.

Benn, along with Predators Captain Mike Fisher, presented Mays with custom Predators and Stars jerseys and snapped photos with a young woman who has been through more in the past year than many endure in a lifetime.

"It was a really big surprise, I wasn't expecting it at all," Mays said after the encounter, beaming with excitement. "It was amazing. Jamie Benn is one of my favorite players and I love Mike Fisher because he's our captain, and so to get to meet them was really cool."

Still using a crutch to assist in her coming and going - which helped her back down to the locker room to visit with the entire Predators team after a 5-3 win - Mays hopes to return to the outfield at Roane State by next season at the latest, a bat and glove in her hands instead.

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