An 11-year-old Winnipeg boy fighting 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 locket to match my son’s locket that I beaded is something to be very proud of,” said Rachel Green, Dian Green’s mother.
Earlier in April, Green and her son, Anishinaabe from Iskatewizaagegan # 39 Independent First Nation in northwestern Ontario, met the Pittsburgh Penguins player virtually thanks to The Dream Factory, a program that fulfills the 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, adding that her son is an avid hockey fan who loves to skate.
At the age of two, Dian was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer, and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. When he was six, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His younger brother was a match for a successful bone marrow transplant.
Last November, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and has been treated ever since.
“We were told through Dream Factory that Dian could have a wish and it was always his wish to meet Sidney Crosby,” she said.
Surprise video call
Dian, whose middle name is Sidney, had asked his mother to give him a medallion with the Penguins logo before he knew about the meeting with Crosby.
For Green, beadwork is something that started out 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.
Rachel Green started to bead up when Dian was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of two. She wipes out every piece she makes and says the hobby is therapeutic for her. (Rachel Green)
Then, on April 14, Pittsburgh player Penguins took Dian on a half-hour tour of the ice via an online video conference similar to FaceTime.
“We saved the news for him until the morning of the interview,” said his mother.
“We told Dian it was going to happen and we just wanted to keep it a big surprise. And he was just so amazed, like he couldn’t believe it was going to happen. He was so nervous, so shy.”
During the meeting, Dian proudly wore his locket and Crosby asked him about it.
After the meeting was over, Dian asked his mother if they could make the three-time Stanley Cup winner a similar medallion and send it to him once it was completed.
Shannon Patterson, the dream coordinator at The Dream Factory, said setting up the meeting, sending the medallion, and sharing Crosby’s response with the family was a highlight of her work experience.
“We just absolutely love it [Dian] to pieces, ”Patterson said.
“We are so glad we were able to put this together for him and his mother because they’ve been through absolutely so much, so much that they just deserve everything,” said Patterson, who met the family five years ago.
Rachel Green said it is an experience she and her son will remember, especially “because my son wanted to have lockets made and that just makes it more meaningful and sentimental.”