Beginning in the fall of 2004, six-year-old Dawson Ivanowski learned how to play hockey and had a great time making new friends as a Mini-Mite in the Kirkwood Youth Hockey program. In the spring of 2005, Dawson was complaining that his chest hurt. A routine x-ray showed a 'shadow' near his heart. A MRI confirmed that there was indeed a 'mass'. Further testing confirmed Dawson had cancer called neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is a solid cancerous tumor that begins in the nerve tissue of the neck, chest or abdomen and can spread to organs and bone marrow. It is most commonly found in children under the age of 10. There are approximately 1,000 kids diagnosed with the disease each year in the USA.
In order to help ease the financial strain on his family, his teammate’s families and friends organized a benefit in his honor. On Saturday, August 27th, 2005 the St. Louis Blues Alumni and the Saint Louis University Billikens played an exhibition hockey game in honor of Dawson at the Chesterfield Summit Center.
We raised over $30,000 that evening- what a success We also knew that even though there was an immediate need for one hockey family, there would be more families in similar situations, and that we could help.
In January 2006, we came together to form a Missouri not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to help those families in need. We have been planning our second charity hockey game since. We hope to raise another $30,000 so we may assist another family facing crisis.
Hockey for Hope's purpose is: