The Calgary Flames gave 11-year-old lifelong fan Olivia Lettich a day she’d never forget on Sunday.
Olivia, who was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer when she was only four-months-old, had to go through nine rounds of chemotherapy and 50 radiation treatments as a child. Her battle ultimately left her without her right eye and legally blind with only peripheral vision in her left.
Over the weekend, Olivia received a new pair of electronic glasses from the company eSight, allowing her to see vivid detail for the very first time. The glasses, which look reminiscent of virtual reality headsets, use real-time video technology to allow Olivia to see to an extent that allows her to live her life independently.
The Flames organization found out and gave Olivia and her five family members lower-bowl seats for Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders. The new glasses allowed the cancer survivor to experience hockey in a way she never thought possible.
Olivia sat on the Flames bench during warmups, and fist-bumped all of the players that she has followed for years. She then got to stand on the red carpet on the ice during the singing of the national anthem. The Flames PA announcer introduced Olivia to the crowd of 18,000, which warmly welcomed her with a standing ovation.
Great story out of Calgary 🔥 -Olivia Lettich (who is legally blind) watches her team play for the 1st time thanks to this innovative device pic.twitter.com/ySX2oROJZ9
— BARDOWN® (@BardownHockey) March 6, 2017
Olivia retreated to her seats and watched her favorite team beat the New York Islanders 5-2.
“I was able to see the shots and the players’ numbers and it was fast,” Olivia said to Eric Francis of the Calgary Herald.
Olivia had been to a Flames game before but could not see the game because of the impacts of her battle with cancer, leaving her to rely on her ears to tell her what was happening.
“I’d say, ‘The wave is coming,’ and she’d stand up. And she’d hear the boards if there was a big hit and she’d cheer, but she couldn’t see anything,” said Olivia’s mother Meredith to the Herald.
After the game, Olivia took a trip to the locker room to meet some of her favorite players, including Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano.
She also got to meet head coach Glen Gulutzan, who told her how happy he was to have her at the game.
Sunday’s game meant that Olivia no longer had to sit just feet away from her TV to simply see the shapes of the team she loves so much. Thanks to her new glasses and the Flames organization, Olivia got to actually see them up close and enjoy the game that we all love to watch.
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