Spectator recognizes skin cancer on the sidelines

Mith a suspected life-saving diagnosis on the sidelines, a medical student won over a Canadian ice hockey club and fans across the country – and delivered a positive start into the new year that is now spreading around the world. Brian “Red” Hamilton, one of the kit supervisors of the first division ice hockey team Vancouver Canucks, was looking for his savior with a letter that the club distributed on Saturday via Twitter.

“To the woman I’m trying to find: You changed my life and now I want to find you to say thank you so much,” wrote Hamilton. The woman was one of the spectators of the Seattle Kraken game against the Vancouver Canucks on October 23. In doing so, she discovered a suspicious mole on the neck of the attendant standing in front of her and tried desperately to get his attention.

Message typed on phone screen

Finally she wrote a message on her cell phone. She held the display up to the pane separating viewers from the Canucks bench for Hamilton to read. “The mole on the back of her neck may be cancer. Please go to a doctor! “

Hamilton’s letter to his unknown savior spread quickly and within an hour she was located. It was Nadia Popovici, 22, who was recently admitted to medical school. Hamilton showed up at a press conference overjoyed. “The only reason for the letter was because I really wanted to let her know that her persistence and everything she did was taken seriously.”

“She saved my life,” he said. “She didn’t pull me out of a burning car, but she pulled me out of a smoldering fire.”


Nadia Popovici and Brian Hamilton meet in Vancouver on New Years Day.
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Image: AFP / Vancouver Canucks Image Library

Hamilton himself had never noticed the dangerous mole. A few days after the warning, he turned to the team doctor, who recommended that he cut out the area immediately. During the subsequent examination, the mole turned out to be malignant melanoma, also known as black skin cancer. Fortunately, it hadn’t yet penetrated the deeper layers of the skin, said Hamilton.

Reacted in time

The doctors would have made it clear to him that if he had done nothing for four or five more years, the cancer could have killed him.

Hamilton therefore celebrated Popovici as a “heroine”. She is an “incredible person who took the time to notice something worrying and then find a way to draw attention to it during the chaos of an ice hockey game”.

On Saturday evening, Popovici and Hamilton met in person in another game between the Canucks and the Kraken in Seattle. Popovici told Hamilton, “What an incredible way to start my path into medical school! That is invaluable. ”She is so happy for Hamilton“ that you had it examined ”.

During the game, when Popovici wore an octopus shirt, both teams announced that they would support Popovici’s medical studies with $ 10,000.

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