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Duluth East Hockey Dedicates Tourney To Classmate With Cancer

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — No matter who you were rooting for in the Class 2A boys State Hockey game between Eden Prairie and Duluth East Saturday night, you couldn’t help but cheer for Rachel Sandell.

She was diagnosed with liver cancer a year ago.

Since then, her classmates have been doing everything they can to help.

The hockey team dedicated their run in the State tournament to her.

It is easy to find the section where Duluth East student’s stand — their school spirit is obvious.

What’s even more noticeable is a sea of blue signs, that show support for one of East’s biggest hockey fans.

“Rachel loves hockey so much,” one of her classmates said.

Rachel’s closest friends, Olivia Dawson-Olson, Lindsay Stone, Jordan Lundgren and Kelli Klun are not only cheering for their team they are cheering for Rachel.

“We’re keeping a journal of everything that’s happened for state and we’re sending it to her in Reno and we’re buying her clothes like state apparel and we’re texting her every second of the day the scores of the game so it’s like she’s here,” said Lundgren.

Rachel is in Reno for treatment.

Her Caringbridge page documents what she is going through and how much she wishes she was at the X, cheering on her team.

They dedicated their run at the state title to her and before the game Saturday, each player sent a special wish to their No. 1 fan.

From her hospital room in Reno, Rachel is taking it all in.

“When I watch the games online, I can see the whole sea of students holding the signs and it’s so so cool,” Rachel said.

She said all this support is keeping her upbeat.

“And it helps me on my path here. It just makes it so much more meaningful,” Rachel said.

Rachel said no matter if Duluth East wins or loses, the team and student body are all winners.

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