Chris, a life-long Rangers fan, has endured many medical challenges during his short 17 years. Affiliated with the Garden of Dreams charity partner NYU Tisch Hospital, Chris has been in and out of hospitals all of his life, sometimes staying 7-8 months at a time.
|Chris McCabe, seen here with his mom, was a special guest at The Garden when Rangers captain Chris Drury netted a hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning. |
After hearing of Chris' story, the New York Rangers and the Garden of Dreams Foundation wanted to step in and help create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Chris and his family through the Foundation's new 'Make a Dream Come True' program.
Adam Graves, who will have his No. 9 jersey raised to The Garden rafters on Feb. 3, called Chris on the phone to personally invite him to the MSG Training Center to watch a Rangers practice together and spend the day with him. "I wanted to tell him everything he was going to experience at that time" stated Graves. "But I knew I had to hold back so he was surprised when he arrived."
On November 5, Chris and his family, including his parents and two brothers, arrived at the MSG Training Center and were greeted by their new friend Adam, who presented each of them with personalized Rangers jerseys. After watching the team practice, the youngster enjoyed lunch with Graves and was speechless when some of his favorite Rangers players – Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund – strolled in to say hi and presented him with a hockey bag full of gifts from the team. After meeting Chris, Gomez was so moved by this young man, that he returned with one of his own hockey sticks, personalized with a special message to Chris.
After his jaw dropping encounter in the dining room, Chris toured the state-of-the-art facility with Graves, only to have many more of his Blueshirt heroes, including Henrik Lundqvist
, stop by to wish him well. Chris Drury, the 25th Captain in Rangers team history, put the icing on the cake when he met Chris and his family and invited them to watch the Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning the next day at Madison Square Garden. Drury handed Chris luxury suite tickets as his family looked on in amazement. When asked to pose for a photo, Sheila McCabe offered to hold the tickets for her son, he promptly declined and held on the tickets with great pride.
"The things he deals with on a day-to-day basis can be inspirational," stated Drury. "And it's just nice to see a smile on his face today. There's always a bigger picture. And with Chris in the stands, it would be nice to get a win for him."
At Madison Square Garden the next day, Chris and his family watched the Rangers warm up from ice level prior to the game vs. Tampa Bay. While rinkside, Chris was greeted by a few of the Rangers players, including Drury, who slapped his stick against the glass acknowledging Chris and his family.
After watching warm-ups and talking with various MSG announcers, Chris made his way up to the luxury suite where his family would watch the game with Graves. Once the game begun, he was introduced alongside Graves to the crowd on GardenVision. In addition, Chris had a chance to meet other former Rangers, Mark Messier and Stephane Matteau, who were attending the game and came by for a brief visit.
At the end of the night, the Rangers defeated the Lightning 5-2 behind a memorable performance by Drury, who netted his first hat trick as a Rangers player and capped off an experience for Chris and his family that they will never forget. Chris and his family stopped by the Rangers dressing room to congratulate the team for the night's big win. Chris McCabe and Chris Drury shared a special exchange, in which McCabe congratulated Drury on his hat trick and thanked him for such a special two days and Drury thanked McCabe for his inspiration, support and just a little a bit of luck for his hat trick and the Rangers big win.
For more information about the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Media and Fuse to "make dreams come true for kids in crisis," please log onto gardenofdreamsfoundation.org