Gage Pelletier | 2021

Gage Pelletier - 15 years old - Granville, VT

Gage started his freshmen year of high school in August, already in a crappy way with Covid going on and only attending school two days a week. He has been looking forward to this hockey season since he was 5 - his first year on the varsity high school hockey team, as a goalie. Being a freshman goalie, he wasn’t expecting much playing time, especially with two senior goalies on the team, but he was so excited to learn from both of them, knowing he was THE goalie after that. He had been asking for new pads, new glove, and blocker, new skates, etc, but we just hadn’t had the money to get them all for him yet. Gage got a job at the Waterbury Ice Center in October, he loved working and spending time there and loved making money. He saved up his first several paychecks, and by the middle of November had bought himself all new equipment for the upcoming hockey season, and he was EXCITED!!! A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving Gage started complaining about some knee pain. We didn’t think much of it and assumed it was growing pains or a hockey injury from skating. He mentioned to me every single day that it was bothering him, and finally the day before Thanksgiving, I brought him to see his primary care doctor. His doctor told us it may be something called Osgood-Schlatter disease, something to do with his growth plate from growing so fast, but wanted to have an X-ray done just in case. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we went in to get an X-ray done. Saturday afternoon the doctor called me, and I immediately knew something was wrong (doctors don’t call on Saturdays). He told me something didn’t look right and they thought it may be a bony tumor, and we needed an MRI. Monday, we went in for an MRI, and Tuesday we were called and told that it was cancer. My 15-year-old son has cancer. December 1st we received the official diagnosis - osteosarcoma in the top of his left tibia, about 10cm. Within two weeks he had his port placed and chemo treatments have started. The surgeon told Gage that he would probably never play hockey again, and the news crushed him. Gage, being the type of kid he is, is not giving up hope. He has big plans to crush this disease and determine what type of surgery will allow him to get back out on the ice. He is an incredibly brave, kind, and strong young man, the last kid it seemed like that this would happen to, and certainly, the last kid that I felt deserves this. But, here we are, and we are looking forward to kicking cancer's a**!!! - Tanya Ashford (Gage's Mom)