Firefighters, police lace up for CHaD benefit
Rollinsford Firefighter Tyler Zabkar helps John Wiggins create a poster in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth’s clinic in Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover Tuesday in preparation for the 2013 CHaD Battle of the Badges All-Star Hockey Championship, which is scheduled for March 16 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Each player is partnered with a patient who cheer each other on the ice and through their treatments. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
They were preparing for the championship showdown between police and firefighters March 16 at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
Rollinsford Firefighter Tyler Zabkar, who skated for Dover High last year, said he is inspired by the strength of the children who endure so much.?"It's a great experience for everyone," Zabkar said, adding the kids love the game and enjoyed making signs with the players.
Earlier this month, about 30 other patients got to make posters with players in the CHaD clinic in Manchester.
Dover Firefighter Glen Camire, who's skated with the team for six years, said he was amazed how much 4-year-old Jack St. Hillaire, of Rochester, grew since last year when they first met as part of the program. They used markers, stickers and glitter to make a poster with Jack's brother, Ben, 6.
Jack's mother, Amanda Paul, said he enjoys skating, but also loves watching his older brother on the ice.
"We try to make things as normal as we can," Paul said, adding that Jack was born without one of his chromosomes.
"They found it because when he was born, he couldn't breathe on his own," Paul said
Paul said she's grateful for all the support - both from the members of CHaD hockey team, but especially for all the doctors and nurses who help them through it all. She said that Jack still manages to enjoy himself.
"His personality makes up for everything else," Paul said.
This is the second year Catherine Given, 7, of Portsmouth, has participated in the program as she suffers from a thyroid condition, which could affect her growth and metabolism. She looks forward to the upcoming game and when she can skate a little on her own.
"I'm going on the ice with my mom and my dad can stay with my sister," Given said.
Rochester K-9 Officer Keith MacKenzie, who's been with the program for the past six years, loves returning to the ice almost as much as spending time with the kids who cheer the players on.
While Hampton Firefighter Craig Magner hasn't played competitive hockey in more than a decade, he was more than happy to strap on skates to help provide inspiration to others. "It's a great cause," Magner said, adding he hopes others can join the team next year.
For more information, visit http://chad.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/dv/battle_of_badges_championship.html.