By Dillon Thomas
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of survivors took to the ice Saturday afternoon to celebrate life through a game of hockey.
The event, hosted by Dawg Nation, gave those who have experienced different health battles the opportunity to play hockey, while also raising money for others who continue to battle health challenges.
Players were separated to two teams. Each teammate had a unique story of survival, and are thriving in life after their challenges.
“I am a survivor of breast cancer,” said Dori Webb, one of the athletes.
“(I survived) Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage three,” said Alan Manning.
Age groups for participants varied, all taking the ice with a newfound zest for life.
“I passed through (prostate cancer) with flying colors,” said Richard Forman.
“I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 18 years old,” said Andrew Pfankuch.
Dawg Nation stopped the game at one point, to surprise Pfankuch, and his wife.
“Three months after we got married, we found out she had cancer,” Pfankuch told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Dawg Nation gave a check for several thousand dollars to the Pfankuch family, in order to help them with their medical expenses.
“This is a family to me,” Pfankuch said.
However, for many, Dave Repsher taking the ice, was the best part of the game.
“It brings tears to my eyes,” Webb said. “For him to be out here playing with us, is just an honor for us.”
90 percent of Repsher’s body was burned after a helicopter crash in 2015.
“I really wanted to be a part of (the survivor game) someday. It was a big goal of mine,” Repsher said.
Some said the final score of the game was insignificant, in comparison to the celebration that is had for every survivor who makes it to the ice.
“Tough sport, tough people, kind hearts,” said Steve Jouflas, an athlete.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.