Vernon Fiddler started the off season with a swing for an event very close to his heart. Fiddler was the Honorary Chair of this year's 17th Annual Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament.
The Tribute Golf Course event helps benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a charity that Fiddler and his family strongly support. Twenty four years ago Fiddler lost his older sister, Erin, to leukemia. She was 8 years old.
“After losing my sister, Erin, I wanted to give back and it’s incredible how much progress has been made in the treatment of the disease since she was first diagnosed,” said Fiddler.
Fiddler was joined by Stars forwards Jamie Benn, Eric Nystrom and defenseman, Alex Goligoski.
The family Fiddler was swinging the clubs for Monday morning, the Fricke’s, including 4 year-old Cutler. He was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was 6 months old. Cutler is now in remission and his dad, Aaron, is grateful for the advancements that have been made in the last decade thanks to tournaments like Links Fore Leukemia.
“We are so lucky that he has been cancer free for the last few years,” said Aaron Fricke.
Since the inception of this golf tournament, doctors have made remarkable strides in blood cancer research. The five year survival rate of children with a diagnosis similar to Cutler has increased to nearly 90 percent.
Cutler celebrated his fourth birthday this spring and has remained hospital an infection free since March 2010. He enjoyed putting for his dad this afternoon and started to play hockey last year. When asked who was the better hockey player, Cutler or Fiddler? Cutler responded with a smile and pointed back at himself. The only trouble for this four year old these days, getting those puts to fall.