What’s on Tap?
Club Hockey Honors Young Cancer Survivor
Column by Sam Tapper – Sport Writer
One of the growing trends in sports today are stories that can be labeled as “feel good stories,” something that reminds us that a sport can be more than just a game.
Common examples we see of this are the Make-A-Wish Foundation, ESPN’s ‘My Wish’ hosted by Chris Connelly and the Team IMPACT program, a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams, which schools like Southern, UConn, among others are actively involved with.
“Sports matter in a really intense way for some young people in crisis,” Connelly said in an interview earlier this year. “We’ve gotten a renewed sense of how much sports matter.”
Southern’s club men’s hockey team was the most recent team on campus to open their locker room doors to a brave young child. In coordination with SCSU’s Blue Crew, the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Omega Zeta Pi sorority and Pre-Health Society, the hockey team hosted its ‘Hockey Fights Childhood Cancer’ event pregame at Louis Astorino Ice Arena in Hamden, Conn.
The child being honored was five-year-old brain cancer survivor, Anthony Muoio, of Milford, Conn. Anthony is a kindergartner described by his mother, Sara Muoio, as an outgoing, happy child who loves meeting new people and spending time with those close to him.
At just five-months old, Anthony was diagnosed with a Choroid Plexus Papilloma, ultimately undergoing a surgery that lasted over nine hours to successfully remove the tumor.
The tumor had threatened Anthony’s life, giving him a 50 percent shot at survival. During his surgery, Anthony suffered a stroke and as a result faces partial paralysis on his right side. Anthony was also diagnosed with epilepsy a year after the surgery in May of 2016, however, a recent MRI in October showed he is indeed five-years tumor free.
According to his mother, Anthony’s catchphrase is: “If you can’t go over it and you can’t go under it, you’ll just have to go through it.”
Anthony has interacted with multiple organizations, such as the Fairfield University women’s soccer team, of which he signed a national letter-of-intent to in February and proudly dons the number four.
For this event, Anthony was granted access to Southern’s locker room before the game, given his own team gear and was honored on the ice before the game.
“We just got new jerseys, and we’re giving him one as an honorary member,” said defenseman Keegan Lewis, a second-semester freshman and chemistry major. “He said his favorite number was number four so we’re giving that to him and retiring it for a year.”
The experience Anthony had with the team is certainly one he won’t forget, despite being just five-years old. However, Anthony wasn’t the only one who had a great time with it, as Lewis said the whole team loved every moment of it and will hope to do something like this again in the future.
“It gives me chills, honestly,” Lewis said. “Growing up I had my heroes, and I’m nowhere near that, but if I can be something close to that for him that really touches my heart. It’s great for the team in every aspect.”