MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the 10th year in a row, Minnesota Wild players will sport aprons in lieu of jerseys and serve dinner and drinks.
The Minnesota Wild Foundation is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year on Dec. 1 at A’bulae in St. Paul.
The team’s charitable arm has teamed up with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for the last decade.
Each year the foundation invites one patient from Children’s to be their featured guest.
Trevor Eder Zdechlik, or “Trevor EZ,” is this year’s guest of honor.
The sophomore at Stillwater High School was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia last fall. The cancer triggers a protein that causes white blood cells to build up in large numbers, crowding out healthy blood cells and damaging the bone marrow.
Trevor learned he had leukemia on Oct. 5, 2013.
“I was kind of scared at first, because cancer is a scary word,” Trevor said.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is usually found in adults, but Trevor’s father, Bob, said he and his wife noticed something different last fall. Trevor’s stomach was bloated.
“It was abnormal because he is a fit kid and it just didn’t seem right to have the stomach protruding that much,” Bob Zdechlik said.
After the initial diagnosis, the then ninth-grader spent a week at Minnesota Children’s Hospital as doctors worked to lower his white blood cell count.
At first it was difficult for Bob and the rest of this Stillwater hockey family to come to grips with Trevor’s failing health.
“Shock, disbelief, why is this happening to my child?” Bob remembered himself thinking. “I am 50 years old, he’s only 14. Why can’t it be me?”
A year later Trevor is in remission, but he continues to take a daily chemotherapy pill. His doctors gave him the green light to participate in full-contact sports.
“My health is good,” said Trevor. “I can participate in all the activities I want.”
“I’m amazed at his progress,” his father said. “We really owe a lot to his doctors at Minnesota Children’s Hospital.”
Next up for this 15 year-old: meeting everyone on the Wild roster Monday night.
“My goal is to meet all of them,” Trevor said, pausing a beat, “ask them a question, I guess.”
Trevor said his two sisters are driving in from St. Peter to attend Monday night. They both attend Gustavus Adolphus College. His older brother is the captain of the Stillwater hockey team and his older sister helped lead Gustavus to the Women’s College Hockey Division III Frozen Four.