Many NHL teams, including the Washington Capitals, partner with the Make-A-Wish foundation to help kids realize their dreams during the biggest fight of their lives.
In the same season that the Ottawa Senators adopted “butterfly child” Jonathan Pitre to the team, the Minnesota Wild signed 17-year-old Carter Casey to a one-day contract.
Carter, a huge fan of the Wild, was fighting a rare form of muscle cancer and the contract was arranged through Make-A-Wish.
After a 20-month fight with spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma, Casey passed away over the weekend.
In March we signed Carter Casey to join the #mnwild family.
Now we mourn the loss of our brother, son and friend. We will miss you Carter. pic.twitter.com/Ll4xEWKrum
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) July 17, 2017
“In March we signed Carter Casey to join the #mnwild family,” the Minnesota Wild wrote on Twitter. “Now we mourn the loss of our brother, son and friend. We will miss you Carter.”
Although cancer took away Carter’s chance of participating in athletics, sports kept him smiling through his battle. Carter’s Make-A-Wish request was just to meet the Minnesota Wild. During that meeting in March, the Wild surprised him with the a one-day contract offer.
“Everybody loved the kid, and that’s why it’s so sad,” friend Carson Yaggie said to Chris Murphy of Inforum.com. “The worst things happen to the best people and that’s true here. He was always a joy to be around.”
Ahead of Carter’s special game against the San Jose Sharks in March, head coach Bruce Boudreau told him that the Wild were going to use his spirit “as a way to motivate” the team.
Carter’s reply was simple, “Get the W.”
The Wild did just that, defeating the Sharks 3-1.
Carter’s death is taking a lot out of his hometown of Breckenridge, Minnesota.
“The entire community is just dead,” Yaggie said. “Our hearts are completely dropped. It’s like there’s just a space in the community that will always be empty.”
Breckenridge football coach and athletic director Chad Fredericksen recalled a moment he shared before one of Carter’s surgeries. While explaining the surgery, Fredericksen told him how sorry he was.
“This is just the next stage in fighting this thing, coach,” Carter told Fredericksen. “I’m good with it, and I’ll be good when I get back.”
“I didn’t realize until later that he was comforting me, rather than the other way around,” Fredericksen said to Inforum. “That is who Carter is, and that is how he has fought this thing and been an inspiration throughout. What a wonderful opportunity I have had to learn from him about life.”
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