I’m not too big a fan of the Penguins but this story will bring a tear to your eye. Here’s the proper credit for the story http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/fayette/s_608065.html
Youngster with cystic fibrosis skates with Penguins
By Allison M. Heinrichs
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In the seat where Evgeni Malkin signed his contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team’s newest member put pen to paper Tuesday.
“Sign your name right there,” said Penguins General Manager Ray Shero after explaining key parts of the contract to Jacob Anderson, 8, of Connellsville.
Jacob paused, his eyes widening: “My whole name?”
With cameras flashing, Jacob became a Penguin, fulfilling a wish he made the week the Penguins made the Stanley Cup playoffs last year — and marking a milestone for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia.
“Jacob’s is our 10,000th wish,” spokeswoman Ann Hohn said. “That’s the largest number of wishes granted by a single chapter worldwide. We take an enormous amount of pride in that — that’s 10,000 children’s lives we’ve reached in 25 years.”
Jacob has cystic fibrosis, a hereditary lung condition that often is fatal by age 30.
“There’s no cure yet,” said his mother, Crystal Wingrove. “But we’re very optimistic that there will be one soon.”
Just before 10 a.m., Jacob reported to Gate 2 at Mellon Arena clutching a hockey stick and accompanied by his mom, sister Taia Anderson, 10, and father Ronnie Anderson of Dawson in Fayette County.
“Never ever do these types of things happen on a game day,” Penguins spokeswoman Cindy Himes said. “But this is a very special occasion, so we made an exception.”
Jacob was ushered to the dressing room, where all the players sat in front of their equipment. One seat was empty.
“Oh, cool,” Jacob said, walking up to the locker labeled “Anderson.” On the shelves were pads, a large equipment bag and a team helmet that fit perfectly.
Team captain Sidney Crosby presented Jacob with a No.10 jersey with “Anderson” printed across the back shoulders.
“We need a winger,” Crosby told Jacob, who has played several positions as a rookie for the Falcons hockey team in the Connellsville Youth league.
After meeting with Shero — who signed the 8-year-old for $1 — Jacob stood outside the GM’s office and faced cameras for an impromptu press conference. Like a good player, he didn’t tip his hand before game day, giving mostly one-word answers and describing the experience as “awesome.”
Jacob helped equipment manager Dana Heinze and assistant manager Paul Defazio sharpen skates and tape up hockey sticks before heading onto the ice for practice.
His face pressed to the glass, Jacob watched the players send pucks flying around the ice. Left wing Matt Cooke scooped his new teammate into his arms and skated around the ice with him.
They consulted with Crosby and then spent several minutes taking shots at goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
“It took us a while, but we finally got one on Fleury,” Cooke said, returning Jacob to his parents.
Last night, Jacob watched the pregame warmup from the penalty box and cheered on the Penguins despite their 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
His sister stayed by her brother’s side. Taia also has cystic fibrosis and was hoping to go to Disney World for her wish.
“I’m not so sure now,” she said. “I’m having so much fun, I might think of a different wish.”