Logan Piz was an avid youth hockey player until last November when he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that mainly affects children. Since then Logan has since been treated at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver.
As you might imagine, Logan, 13, is eager to see visitors, but on Wednesday morning, he had a surprise guest -- the Stanley Cup.
"I thought it was just another nurse coming in," Logan said. "But there it was."
And that was just the first half of this special day that the Make-A-Wish Foundation coordinated along with the NHL and Discover Card. After holding the trophy and sharing it with doctors, nurses and other patients, Logan headed to his hometown hockey rink, the Apex Center in Arvada, Colo., with his parents and his brother, Hayden.
In addition to his former hockey teammates and the several hundred community members who greeted
him, so did a second special guest. It was his favorite player: Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Giguere, 35, has spent just the past two seasons in Colorado, but Logan quickly took a liking to the decorated netminder because of his generosity.
"I got to meet him a couple times before, and he gave me a game stick one time and wrote a little note on there," Logan said.
Giguere was a 2007 Stanley Cup champion and the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff most valuable player with the Anaheim Ducks. The Avalanche had the worst record in the Western Conference this season, but Giguere got the chance to get close to the Stanley Cup again while visiting with Logan at the rink.
"You just can't say no to an event like that," Giguere said. "I have three boys of my own, and it's a kid going through something that's extremely difficult -- I can only imagine. He and his family seem like a great family, a very strong family. You can tell that his teammates just love him, and the community here loves him."
Giguere has experienced medical hardship within his own family. As the Ducks marched toward the Stanley Cup in 2007, his newborn son underwent treatment for a malformed eye. Less than two years later, Giguere’s father passed away from cancer, and his mother died less than three months ago after suffering for many years from Alzheimer's.
"One way to battle these things is by the support of other people -- by the support of your family, your loved ones, the community," Giguere said. "I had a lot of letters from fans that were wishing us well and stuff like that, and it was the same thing today with Logan."
Youth in the Make-A-Wish program are offered five categories for wishes. Logan selected the fifth -- "I wish to give" -- that allowed the whole community and other patients at the Rocky Mountain Hospital to partake. A stroke of good fortune paved the way for Logan's wish to come true, according to Matthew Towson, Discover’s senior manager of community affairs. Discover has access to the Stanley Cup for specific days each year because of its partnership with NHL, and Towson asked Make-A-Wish if any child wanted to spend a day with it.
"When I sent that email to Make-A-Wish, Logan's wish was actually coming in that day," Towson said.
Logan watched his teammates do drills and a shootout, and although he could not participate himself, he took the time to chat with Giguere.
"We were just left speechless by the generosity of all the people involved and just how amazing it's all been," said Logan's mother, Tammy. "We wish that every cancer patient can experience the incredible love and everything that we've experienced."