Vladimir Tarasenko Surprises 11-Year-Old Fan Battling Cancer with Trip of a Lifetime (Video)
We already know Vladimir Tarasenko is one hell of a hockey player. Now we know he’s also one hell of a human being.
Last week Tarasenko was the winning bidder on the most coveted item in a Blues charity auction: a trip for two on the team’s two-game road trip to Phoenix and Denver next month, complete with flight on the team charter and stay at the team hotels.
On Monday the Blues superstar gave the trip to a very special young fan.
Arianna Dougan is turning 11 years old. She wasn’t supposed to, though. When she was just four years old, Ari was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer that attacks nerve cells and can spread everywhere in the body. Over the last eight years she has fought and defeated the disease three times, and she’s currently on the verge of beating it for a fourth time.
Arianna’s friendship with Vladi Tarasenko started back in October of 2015, when she was paired with the scoring machine for “Hockey Fights Cancer” night. She met him for a second time just a few days later, when she went trick-or-treating at Scottrade Center with Friends of Kids with Cancer. The pair were then reunited again at Hockey Fights Cancer night this past November. This time Vladi skated up to her during the pre-game ceremony and snapped a selfie that melted a lot of cold Twitter hearts.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) November 6, 2016
On Monday the Blues brought Ariana back to Scottrade Center prior to their game agains the Florida Panthers. After initially greeting her in the hallway, Tarasenko brought her into the team locker room. There head coach Mike Yeo presented her with her own jersey, and then Vladi presented her with his gift before the entire team sang Happy Birthday.
Take a look:
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 20, 2017
Ari’s mom, Lori Zucker, was overcome with emotion.
“I was crying in the background,” Zucker told Blues blogger Chris Pinkert. “The fact that we’re celebrating an 11th birthday is just the most amazing emotional thing anyway. And then you add to it and see her walking around (the Blues locker room) and smiling and able to be here and get this amazing gift…it’s amazing.”
Don’t worry, Lori. I think pretty much everyone is crying in the background.
Hat Tip – [St. Louis Blues]