Tonight, the Baldwinsville and Liverpool High School Varsity Hockey teams will take to the ice in friendly competition to help make the Christmas season a little brighter for two children battling rare cancer.
"They will be skating hard for more than just themselves tomorrow night, it will be for Hally and Jack as well," says Nicholas Leader, Liverpool Hockey's Assistant Coach.
The money raised from the matchup will help support 8-year-old Hally Krolik and 2-year-old Jack Podkaminer directly through Maureen's Hope.
Right now, Hally is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatments for Wilms Tumor, a kidney cancer that primarily affects children, at Golisano Children's Hospital. She lives in Baldwinsville with her family, and is in third grade at Reynolds Elementary School.
In October, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and M&T Bank surprised Hally with news she and her family would be going to Walt Disney World this February. Hally had always wanted to visit the Magic Kingdom and meet Princess Jasmine.
Meanwhile, Jack Podkaminer, of Jamesville spent most of the summer in Boston with his mom and 3 year old brother. He was getting radiation treatment for Rabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that was found in his neck last April.
While his mom stayed with him in Boston, Jack's dad stayed home in Jamesville to work.
Right now, Jack is going through very aggressive chemotherapy treatments. This, as his parents are expecting the birth of their third child this week.
We caught up with the hockey teams Monday morning, as they fit in an early morning practice before school. Before their practice session, the boys had watched a video showing Hally's courageous journey thus far.
"This is real life, this is what these kids go through," said Susan Bertrand, Founder of Maureen's Hope. "I think the boys, watching the video, understanding what a cancer patient goes through -- I think made getting up at 5:30 in the morning to be here [Monday], really not seem like so much."
"They've done a great job. The players have really promoted it at school. Parents have done a great job stepping up, coaches, local businesses have already made donations," Leader said. "it's going to be a really great night - a special night for Hally and Jack too."
The Bees and The Warriors face off at 7 p.m. at the Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena. Tickets are $3 at the door, and $2 for students and children. All proceeds will go toward Maureen's Hope to directly benefit Hally and Jack.
The goal is to bring in 2,000 people to pack the Arena.
Maureen's Hope helps children and their families, as they cope with a cancer diagnosis, or other life-changing illnesses.
In eight years, the foundation has helped 1100 families in Central New York.