Wish Come True: Watch Mario Lemieux Skate with Teen Cancer Survivor

Penguins fan Lily Tarasiewicz was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the same illness Lemieux fought as a player in the NHL.

It took a special someone to get retired Pittsburgh Penguins hockey great Mario Lemieux back on the ice.

During his 2017 Mario Lemieux Fantasy Camp Monday, the Hall of Famer joined 16-year-old cancer survivor Lily Tarasiewicz for a jaunt around the outdoor rink at Heinz Field.

"It was a great experience, and he is really down to earth, but he also inspires me a lot," Lily told nhl.com. "I feel overwhelmed, but I have a lot of gratitude toward [Lemieux] for taking the time out of his schedule to spend some time with me."

The teen — who lives in Chesterfield, South Carolina, but grew up a Penguins fan thanks to her dad, James — was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin's lymphoma in October 2015. It’s same illness Lemieux fought more than 20 years ago during the height of his playing career.

“He’s an inspiration to us as a family,” Lily’s mom, Melissa Tarasiewicz told KDKA. “When he had it, he could have stopped. He could have laid down and said, ‘Hey, this is it for me.’ But he didn’t. He kept going. He overcame it, and he’s cancer free. Same with with Lily. When she got it, she said, ‘Mom, I’m going to beat this.'”

After some hesitancy about getting on the ice, Lily nearly didn’t don a pair of skates. That is, until Lemieux changed her mind.

The Penguins owner led the teen onto the ice and then gently guided her around the rink, never letting go of her hands.

"She was going back and forth about wanting to do it and not wanting to do it, and when we got into the locker room, she decided she wasn't comfortable," Melissa told nhl.com. "Next thing you know, [Lemieux] is walking through the door of the locker room, and he said, 'C'mon Lily, we're going to go do this.'"

Lily’s wish was made possible by Make-A-Wish Foundation Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It also included tickets to Saturday’s 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, which the Penguins won 4-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers.

But the real winner is Lily, who after four months of intense chemotherapy and 14 rounds of radiation over two more months, is today cancer free. 


Categories: The 412