During the Senators pregame press conference on Wednesday, head coach Guy Boucher shared some information with the media. It wasn’t about his lineup or the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was about a teenager from Ottawa.
“It’s a great day today,” he said. “Big news: Jonathan Pitre‘s treatments are working well.”
Pitre, a longtime Sens fan, has a rare disease called Epidermolysis bullosa, a rare and often deadly skin disease. Those with the condition are often known as “butterfly” children because their skin is so fragile, like the wings of the insect.
Jonathan’s fight has inspired the Senators. The news of his successful treatments has brought joy to Ottawa locker room in a time tremendous pressure, the quest for the Stanley Cup.
“I’d like to say hi to Jonathan and what a great fight you’re having, and we’re thinking about you,” Boucher told reporters in Ottawa.
Pitre became connected with the team back in 2014 when he served as a scout for the day.
“His attitude and his personality, how thoughtful he was, how just persevering he was, it really inspired all of us,” Kyle Turris told NHL.com.
Pitre was the first Canadian to participate in the clinical trial for his disease at the University of Minnesota, where he underwent surgery. It uprooted his family from Ottawa to the State of Hockey. When the Senators took a trip to play the Wild in March, the team made a special stop to visit Pitre.
“The smile Jonathan had on his face was priceless,” Pitre’s mother Tina Boileau said. “No medication could do something like this.”
“The smile Jonathan had on his face was priceless. No medication could do something like this.”
– Tina Boileau, Jonathan Pitre’s Mother pic.twitter.com/LZyRmDd000
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 30, 2017
Upon hearing the news that the stem cell transplant Pitre had is working, defenseman Erik Karlsson said that it was “obviously a great, great thing.”
Turris and the rest of the Senators will be reaching out to Pitre personally in the next few days.
“One of the best people I’ve ever met,” said Turris. “We’re working hard to try and go as far as we can, but what he’s done is for his life. There’s no comparison.”
“We’re really happy for him,” Karlsson said to NHL.com. “He’s someone who’s been a part of our team for a number of years now, and again, I think it’s a great awareness for everybody, having him come in, being a part of this group, and getting the exposure of the hard time that he’s going through.”
Great to see Jonathan and his mother Tina at the game tonight! pic.twitter.com/aW9ULaEXAa
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 31, 2017
Additional reporting by Chris Gordon.
Headline photo: Ottawa Citizen
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