Last night, the Anaheim Ducks honored Kai Quinonez, a 13-year-old boy who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia five years ago. According to NHL.com, the rare disease “occurs when bone marrow doesn’t produce enough blood-forming stem cells, resulting in low counts for all three types of blood cells. The disease leaves those afflicted by it fatigued and at a much higher risk for infections, uncontrollable bleeding and bruising.”
During their home opener, the Ducks welcomed Kai in their pre-game player introductions.
Kai spent the entire day with the Ducks organization, as per his request through the Make-A-Wish foundation who grants wishes for children suffering from life-threatening conditions and diseases. Not only did Kai get to practice with the first team, but they gave him his own locker and truly brought him in as one of their own during his time spent at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Puck Daddy described Kai’s struggle up until this awesome moment:
“He was a perfectly normal, happy, 9-year-old child then he started in a matter of days started getting really big purple, yellow bruises,” his father Gus said. “Immediately we knew something was wrong. We took him back to the doctor and from there it was immediately ‘head to oncology’ and his life had changed forever at that point. He was taken off the playground.”
Gus said Kai did two rounds of chemo as part of treatment. According to the Orange County Register, Kai has gone through 14 surgeries.
For over two years Kai was in and out of the hospital, so he never really got to learn sports.
Kai’s father also noted that Kai is currently in remission but, “There are a couple of things that need to work out, but he’s doing really well.”
Welcoming him was an all-around classy move from the Ducks organization for a kid that deserves all of our respect and prayers. Kudos to all involved. .
Image via YouTube