Sea Wolves Battle Kids' Cancer And Create Friendships - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/06/05

Sea Wolves Battle Kids' Cancer And Create Friendships

As the Mississippi Sea Wolves tried to bring down the Ice Pilots,a few hundred fans were cheering them on.

But one particular group of fans is different.

10 year-old Laurel Collins sees the Sea Wolves, especially Kerry Ellis Toddington, as a part of her family.

"I've known him for like a while and he's nice," said Collins.

10-year-old Joshua Giametta feels the same about Anthony Battaglia.

We asked him what the two of them talk about on the phone.

"Um. Not really much," said Giametta.

About 22 children with cancer were matched with their own Sea Wolves hockey player for private gatherings during the hockey season.

This Face Off Against Kids Cancer game will be the end of their matches, but it won't be an end to the fun memories for the children or the parents.

"It just makes them feel special in a good way instead of singled out in a bad way of having cancer and something bad. This is a good thing. It makes them feel special," said Laurel's mother Leslie Collins.

"It brings Josh out of his shell a little bit, and makes it to where he'll participate a little bit in hockey games and stuff like that. He hasn't had a chance to participate in too many sports but this makes it to where he can at least see the team atmosphere and stuff like that," said Joshua's father Joe Giametta.

The players wore special jerseys at the game to be auctioned off later, raising money for cancer research.

This program means a lot to them as well.

"It's very emotional for the players. They love doing it. They love giving back to the community," said Sea Wolves community relations director Albert Branca.

And hopefully the team's generosity will keep bringing smiles to the faces of kids like Charlie DeMetz.

We asked if the fun will continue with player Steve Greeley.

"Yes," said DeMetz.

Following this afternoon's game, there was an autographed commemorative jersey auction and postgame party for the players and the children at the Beau Rivage.

The proceeds will go to help fund cancer research.

By Karla Redditte

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