Before, he was too sick to attend. Now, he’s the star of the show.
Nine-year-old Theo Lazaridis put on an impressive performance at this year’s Guns & Hoses hockey game, an event that in previous years helped fund his battle with cancer.
“It’s fun,” he told The Chief.
The Squamish Fire Rescue bested local RCMP with a score of 9-7 on Mar. 15, but with Lazaridis, police had arguably the best player.
Despite only playing for the first half, Lazaridis scored two goals during the game — one on a shootout, another on the first period — making him a powerhouse during the match.
It was a remarkable performance for someone who had only been playing for three years.
“Scoring the goal on the first shift,” and “getting it through the five-hole,” Lazaridis said, was one of the highlights of the match for him.
The young athlete has come a long way.
“He was two years behind all the other kids and now he fits right in….I think his performance is fantastic. His performance made my day,” said Troy Lynn, who coached Lazaridis.
“This is what this game’s about. Watching Theo there shows our community what they’re putting their money into. What they’re putting their support into. And they can see the result on the ice. That’s all about those kids. That’s what it’s for.”
Back in December 2011, just after his second birthday, the young player was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer called AML.
Guns & Hoses helped pay the bills for two years. The first year in 2012, he was too sick to attend the game. The second year, he had to leave early so he could be back in the hospital for treatment.
The procedures were extensive and included chemotherapy.
He even experienced a relapse, which then prompted a cord blood transplant.
But for the last six years, Lazaridis has been in remission.
“This is purely support to show how far we’ve come,” said Tasso, his father. “Life’s good. The town of Squamish is great.”
“He’s made a great recovery and that was so awesome to have him out on the ice,” said Michelle Fairhurst, an organizer with the Squamish Firefighter’s Association.
“He scored on my son who was on net for the firefighters,” she added with a chuckle.
This year’s event will continue in the tradition of helping out those in need.
The proceeds will be split between the Hanson House Fund and the Squamish Food Bank.
The Hanson fund will help support the two girls of Muriel "Mouse" Hanson, who died after battling cancer.
“There’s two little girls that lost their mom and they’re being raised by their grandmother now,” said Fairhurst.
“They need to raise some money to do renovations to their grandmother’s house and we wanted to help in some way.”
**Please note, this story has been corrected since it was first posted. Theo is nine years old, not eight as was originally stated.