MSS and Island community rally in support of youth battling cancer

TO CASSIE’S GOOD HEALTH––Cassandra Cristo drops the puck at Friday’s hockey fundraiser in support of her and her battle against cancer. From left, Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustang girls’ hockey coach Mike Meeker, team manager Lisa Corbiere-Addison, Mustang player Michelle Campbell, Cassandra Cristo, Reggie Leach, Lo Ellen Park Knight Kylie Bruni, MSS Vice David Wiwchar, Principal Laurie Zahnow and Lo Ellen Park Knights coach Larry Frank. Missing from photo are Mustang assistant coach Kalan Ricci and Knights assistant coach Meagan McCourt. photos by Robin Burridge

LITTLE CURRENT—The stands were full for last Friday night’s Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs hockey fundraiser in support Cassandra Cristo, a member of the girls’ team and an MSS Grade 12 student, in her fight against cancer.

MSS students, teachers and Island community members showed their support for the Island youth, sporting orange ribbon stickers. Proceeds from the door were donated to help cover her medical travel costs and other associated costs amounting to a donation of approximately $6,000.

“The support for Cassie (Cassandra) was amazing,” said MSS girls’ hockey coach Mike Meeker. “I think she was a bit overwhelmed, but the support was great to see.”

The event was organized by Cassie’s teammates and included two back-to-back games.

The evening kicked off with a puck drop from Cassie who was joined on the ice by NHL hockey legend Reggie Leach. There was also a cheque presentation from a surprising source. 

“The Lo Ellen Park Knights (which the girls’ team was playing) had a bake sale prior to the game and raised $100 for Cassie,” said Mr. Meeker. “I was so impressed and thought it was pretty cool of them.”

Although the Mustang girls lost their game, Cassie was there to cheer them on from the bench with the coaching staff.

Cassie was diagnosed with cervical cancer in June. She has undergone chemotherapy and radiation and is about to undergo another round of chemotherapy in Barrie. Up next, she will be getting further scans and could possibly face surgery.

“There are a lot of people here,” Cassie said when asked about the event by The Expositor. “It means quite a bit to me seeing everyone here and all the support.”

The Mustang boys hit the ice later Friday night at 7 pm against the St. Benedict Bears.

The Bears got the lead early on in the game, but the Mustangs were quick to catch up, but then fell behind in the third period. Luckily, they were able to tie the game up in the last few minutes with a final score of 4-4.

“The boys never gave up all night when trailing and were able to tie the game with nine minutes left,” said Mustang boys’ coach Steve Doane. “You are never too happy with a tie after you have had the lead, but on this night, playing in front of such a huge crowd, I was very impressed with our overall discipline and determination.”

The boys now have a two-week break from hockey so that they can concentrate on their exams, hitting the ice next on Thursday, February 2 at the Bur Bear Tournament in Burlington.

Mustang Michelle Campbell accepts a cheque from Lo Ellen Park Knight Kylie Bruni for $100. The Knights raised the money from a bake sale and donated the funds towards the hockey fundraiser for Cassandra Cristo (in background). The event raised a total of $6,000 for Cassandra who is battling cancer.