The New Jersey Devils hosted their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health on Saturday, Nov. 25, when they faced off against the Buffalo Sabres at the Prudential Center.
In attendance was 13-year-old Charlie Shomers, a cancer patient and lifelong Devils fan, and his family. The Hillsborough teen was diagnosed with Ependymoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in July. After a successful surgery to remove the tumor and six weeks of radiation therapy treatment, Shomers completed treatment in October at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is on the road to recovery.
The teen dropped the ceremonial puck to start the game and got to meet and greet with players and coaches in the locker room. The Devils won 7-2.
During the night, the Devils had various ways for fans to get involved to help raise funds for the Cancer Transportation Program at Community Medical Center. RWJBarnabas Health, together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
They held a mystery puck sale to raise funds to donate back to Cancer Transportation Program at Community Medical Center in Toms River.
The Devils also honored Dr. Rahul Parikh, medical director of the Laurie Proton Therapy Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, as the Hero of the Game. Parikh leads a team of specialists who provide sophisticated radiation therapy treatments to both adult and pediatric cancer patients across the RWJBarnabas Health system. Prior to the game, the National Anthem was sung by Samantha Blossey, whose parents are both cancer survivors. Lily Giordano of the New Jersey Colonials girls hockey team served as Junior Captain of the game.
“As RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey continue to transform cancer care together through advances in cancer prevention, research and treatment, we are appreciative of the ongoing support of the NHL and our partner, the New Jersey Devils,” said Dr. Steven Libutti, director at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and senior vice president of Oncology Services at RWJBarnabas Health.
“Hockey Fights Cancer Night truly helps to lift the spirits of cancer patients and their families by paying tribute to their strength and perseverance and reinforces the need to support cancer research and care.”