How a hockey game helped save this woman’s life

UCHealth cancer survivors take center ice as Colorado Eagles drop gloves in fight against cancer
Jan. 20, 2019
Hockey fans paid special tribute to all lives that have been touched by cancer at the Colorado Eagles Fight Cancer Night game against the Tucson Roadrunners on Jan. 19, 2019. During an intermission, fans illuminated special bracelets. This photo – as well as main photo – by Jordan Reyes Imagery / Colorado Eagles.

LOVELAND, Colo. (Jan. 19, 2019) – Crysta Statucki of Loveland might be one of the Colorado Eagles’ biggest fans because the hockey team helped save her life.

In 2017, before an Eagles hockey game, she decided to jump into UCHealth’s mobile mammogram bus that was stationed just outside Budweiser Events Center to get a mammogram. She knew she needed one anyway, and she had some extra time. She later learned that she had an early form of breast cancer. She and her UCHealth care team immediately got to work on a game plan to fight. There were surgeries and several weeks of daily radiation treatments, and she beat the cancer.

The Colorado Eagles players donned special lavender jerseys in honor of the Eagles Fight Cancer Night game. Photo by Ashley Potts / Colorado Eagles.

On Saturday night, nearly two years later, she proudly stood cancer-free at center ice before a sellout crowd of more than 5,200 hockey fans to drop the puck at the team’s annual Eagles Fight Cancer Night game against the Tucson Roadrunners sponsored by UCHealth.

UCHealth and the Eagles honored many cancer survivors, their families and their supporters with tickets to the game and other special gameday experiences, including the display of a giant purple cancer ribbon on ice and a flag presentation.

Cancer survivors, family members and other supporters helped present the American flag at the game. Photo by Jordan Reyes Imagery / Colorado Eagles.

Hockey fans at the game also had an opportunity to celebrate and honor their friends and loved ones whose lives have been affected by cancer by filling out “I Fight For” pledge cards and taking part in a special intermission tribute with illuminating bracelets.

“UCHealth teams up with strong community partners like the Colorado Eagles to offer our patients extraordinary experiences that create meaningful, lasting memories,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies and UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. “Improving lives for our patients goes beyond the walls of a doctor’s office. The annual Eagles Fight Cancer game and visits to our hospitals and cancer center always lift the spirits of our patients and their loved ones as well as our providers and staff.”

For 10 years, the Eagles have joined with UCHealth in the fight against cancer.

As an organization, the Eagles have raised over $350,000 for the UCHealth Cancer Center – Harmony Campus in Fort Collins. This support has been made possible through the Eagles Fight Cancer initiative and the generosity of Eagles fans, who have contributed through a number of fundraisers.

At Saturday’s game, Eagles players donned special lavender jerseys to raise money and awareness for cancer. The lavender jerseys worn at game were auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting the UCHealth Cancer Center – Harmony Campus in Fort Collins and the Patient Assistance Fund through the PVH and MCR Foundation.

“The culmination of this $350,000 pledge to the Fitness and Rehabilitation Center at the UCHealth Cancer Center is a testament to the incredible passion and spirit of the Colorado Eagles and their fans,” said Eagles media relations director Kevin McGlue. “Without the incredible generosity of our phenomenal fan base, this would not have been possible. This community has been so well served by this outstanding facility and its staff and we are honored to have played a small role in its success.”

About the author

Kelly Tracer is a media relations specialist at UCHealth, based in northern Colorado. For nearly 20 years, she worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and designer before diving into the world of health care communications.

She believes there is an amazing story inside everyone and considers it an honor to get to meet and work with so many extraordinary people – patients, families, providers, volunteers and staff – every day. She is also fascinated by health care innovation and programs that empower and inspire people and families to live healthier lives.

A native of Nebraska, Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She and her husband have two children and enjoy paddle boarding all summer and skiing all winter.