An Anrprior, Ont. boy with a rare disorder got to live out a dream on Friday, spending some time at the Canadian Tire Centre with Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk.
Easton Harris, 9, was diagnosed in 2021 with aplastic anemia, which means his body was not producing enough new blood cells. Easton and his mother Amanda recently spent time at Toronto’s SickKids hospital, where he underwent a bone marrow transplant.
Easton’s family began selling stickers with the hashtag “EastonStrong” to help cover some of the costs of travelling to Toronto to undergo the treatment. His story was featured in CTV News Ottawa this past summer.
On Friday, the Senators released a video of Easton and his little brother Cameron playing sledge hockey with Tkachuk and some other Ottawa Senators after practice. Easton gave Tkachuk an “Easton Strong” ballcap when they met.
“After everything that he’s been through, it’s so—I don’t even know what the word is—it’s incredible to see him out there,” Easton’s father Ryan said in the video. “He’s been talking about this for three months now, since the Senators sent him a little care package when he was in Toronto. It just kind of feels like he’s getting close to the end and this is a sign he’s getting back to normal.”
Sledge hockey is played on a small sled and is a game adapted for people with disabilities. Tkachuk said it was hard work.
“I’m sweating more than I did in practice!”
Easton gave Tkachuk a few pointers, especially about safety.
“Why aren’t you wearing a helmet?” he asked Tkachuk, pointedly. Tkachuk then promptly put a helmet on.
Ryan Harris said he was happy to see the Senators on the sleds.
“We were really happy that Brady was willing to jump on with them and push the sport. They all know about it, but we want the rest of the community to learn about it,” he said. “Anybody that has a disability can get on a sled. There’s a way to get them on there. And people that aren’t, as well. It’s a great community.”
You can watch the Senators’ video on their Twitter account below.
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