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Shark sighting: San Jose hockey players visit El Camino Hospital cancer patients

Photo Courtesy of El Camino Hospital
Sharks fan Marie Parise of Redwood City visits with, from left, “Voice of the Sharks” Dan Rusanowsky; Sharks players Tyler Kennedy, Matt Irwin and Jason Demers; and S.J. Sharkie.

El Camino Hospital cancer patients received a special visit Oct. 7 from San Jose Sharks players Tyler Kennedy, Jason Demers and Matt Irwin, joined by Dan Rusanowsky, the “Voice of the Sharks,” and mascot S.J. Sharkie.

The players visited with patients on the inpatient floor and in the infusion center, where they posed with patients for pictures and signed autographs. Several of the El Camino Hospital Cancer Center physicians, patients and their families were able to attend the Sharks’ Oct. 12 game. After the game, the group received a private tour of the facility and met other players.

“Cancer is a disease that still affects too many members of our community, which is why we are grateful to the Sharks for helping us raise awareness, not just during Breast Cancer Awareness month but all year long,” said Shyamali Singhal, M.D., medical director of the El Camino Hospital Cancer Center. “For our patients, having the opportunity to meet some of their favorite players in person gives them additional encouragement to continue their brave fights.”

The visit was part of the Sharks Foundation’s participation in the National Hockey League’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” program, a leaguewide effort to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, players’ charities and local cancer organizations. The hospital and the Sharks have created a multifaceted partnership.

“We are pleased to have a five-year partnership with the Sharks focused on increasing awareness and education in heart health, orthopedics and cancer for the Silicon Valley,” said Chris Ernst, vice president of marketing and corporate communications for El Camino Hospital. “We are grateful for their continued support of our patient community and for being a committed partner in health education.”

The NHL and its Players’ Association established the initiative in 1998 to raise money and awareness in combating the disease. To date, more than $12.8 million has been raised under the “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.

For more information on “Hockey Fights Cancer,” visit

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