An 11-year-old Winnipeg boy battling cancer in Winnipeg recently fulfilled his dream of meeting his hero, NHL player Sidney Crosby, and gave the superstar a beaded medallion to match his own.
“Just to see my son’s hockey idol wearing a medallion that matches my son’s medallion that I beaded, it’s something to be very proud of,” said Rachel Green, Dian Green’s mother.
Earlier in April, Green and her son, who are Anishinaabe from Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation in northwestern Ontario, met the Pittsburgh Penguins player virtually thanks to The Dream Factory, a program that grants wishes of Manitoba children with life-threatening illnesses.
“He’s always been a fan of Sidney Crosby since he was a baby,” said Rachel Green, who added her son is an avid hockey fan who loves to skate.
At age two, Dian was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. At six, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His younger brother was a match for a bone marrow transplant which was successful.
This past November, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and has been in treatment since then.
“Through Dream Factory, we were told that Dian could have a wish and his wish was always to meet Sidney Crosby,” she said.
Surprise video call
Dian, whose middle name is Sidney, had asked his mom to bead him a Penguins logo medallion prior to knowing about the meeting with Crosby.
For Green, beadwork is something that started as a hobby she could do while taking her son to treatments and she used the skill to help pay for things like hospital parking.
Then on April 14, the Pittsburgh Penguins player took Dian through an on-ice, half hour tour via an online video conference similar to FaceTime.
“We kept the news from him until the morning of the interview,” his mom said.
“We told Dian that it was about to happen and we just wanted to keep it a big surprise. And he was just so amazed, like he couldn’t believe that it was going to happen. He was so nervous, so shy.”
During the meeting, Dian wore his medallion proudly and Crosby asked him about it.
After the meeting was over, Dian asked his mom if they could make the three-time Stanley Cup Winner a similar medallion and send it to him as soon as it was completed.
Shannon Patterson, the dream co-ordinator at The Dream Factory, said setting up the meeting, sending the medallion and sharing Crosby’s response with the family has been a highlight of her work experience.
“We just absolutely love [Dian] to pieces,” said Patterson.
“We are so happy that we were able to put this together for him and his mom because they have been absolutely through so, so much that they just deserve everything,” said Patterson, who met the family five years ago.
Rachel Green said it’s an experience she and her son will remember, especially “because my son wanted medallions made and that just makes it even more meaningful and sentimental.”