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Cancer battle a familiar one for Monarchs' Schurhamer as team prepares for annual 'Pink in the Rink' game

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 07. 2018 11:10PM


As Eric Schurhamer prepares for the Manchester Monarchs’ two-game home series this weekend, he has more than the opponent on his mind.

Schurhamer will be thinking of both his grandma and a family friend when Manchester holds its eighth annual “Pink in the Rink” game against the South Carolina Stingrays Saturday at 6 p.m. at SNHU Arena. The teams will play again Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Monarchs will wear pink jerseys that will later be auctioned, and will dye the ice pink to honor those who have battled breast cancer. Proceeds from Saturday’s game will benefit Catholic Medical Center’s Breast Care Center.

Schurhamer’s maternal grandmother, Loius Swanson, is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed when he was in the seventh or eighth grade. After almost two years that included undergoing chemotherapy and operations, Swanson won her battle with the disease, Schurhamer said.

Schurhamer, 24, got a call last week with news that family friend Katie Anderson’s ovarian cancer is fully in remission.

Swanson and Anderson have told Schurhamer how uplifting the support they received from their loved ones was during their treatment. The “Pink in the Rink” game is an opportunity to give that to both survivors and those currently battling, Schurhamer said.

“It’s cool to see how much support everyone has,” Schurhamer said. “The whole cause brings so many people together.”

The University of Maine graduate remembers running in two Susan G. Komen races with his mom, Laura, when Swanson was undergoing treatment. Schurhamer also recalls the once-a-week phone calls that he, his three older brothers, younger sister and parents had with Swanson to check on how she was doing.

“In a sense it was a tough time but it was nice to see the whole family come together to support her through that,” Schurhamer said.

Schurhamer, who is from St. Paul, Minn., supported Anderson in a similar way. Whenever his mom went to Anderson’s house, the two made a FaceTime call to Schurhamer to keep him updated.

This season will be Schurhamer’s first “Pink in the Rink” game with the Monarchs but he is familiar with the event. Maine held its own “Pink in the Rink” night throughout Schurhamer’s four-year college career.

“The school would really get around it, there was good marketing around it and we’d do an appreciation during or right after the signing of the national anthem or (during) a TV timeout,” said Schurhamer, a defenseman. “For me, those were always a little more of an emotional experience.”

“It makes me think about how we came together to support my grandma and how we’re supporting Katie but on a much bigger scale,” Schurhamer said.

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