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Heroic Kraken fan saves life of Canucks' employee; awarded $10,000 scholarship

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

Shes a medical student at Washington State University. Her quick thinking during an Oct. 23 game between the Canucks & Kraken saved the life of a Canucks equipment manager.

The message Nadia Popovici sent to Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton during the October 24th game

During the inaugural home-opening game between the Canucks and Kraken on October 23th at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington, Nadia Popovici made an alarming discovery on the back of the neck of Canucks equipment manager Brian "Red" Hamilton.

During the chaos of the game, she wrote a message in her notes on her phone and after multiple attempts, he finally caught the attention of Brian with the message "The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor."

Brian went home and it was only the next day when he thought about what he had been told. He went to the doctors to get it checked up- the mole ended up being Malignant Melanoma.

“The words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ignore that for four to five years, I wouldn’t be here,” said Hamilton.

Thanks to early detection and the quick work of doctors, his cancer is gone.

Two months later, Brian reached out via Twitter in an attempt to find the girl that saved his life, he wanted to personally thank her.

“The message you showed me on your cell phone will forever be etched into my brain and has made a true life-changing difference for me and my family,” Hamilton’s post stated.

After the Internet found her, Popovici and Hamilton met in person on Saturday — and he was able to express his gratitude to her at Climate Pledge Arena.

“Me and my Mom have been just in tears,” Popovici told Global News Saturday.

“The mole just kind of caught my eye and I immediately noticed that it had all the hallmarks of a melanoma — it had an irregular border, it was pretty large in diametre and kind of discoloured,” she recalled.

Popovici said she was initially nervous about sharing her gut diagnosis with Hamilton, but is glad she did.

During a first period stoppage, the Canucks and Kraken together awarded Popovici with $10,000 toward her College tuition during their January 1st game in Seattle.

After the announcement was made at the game, Popovici told Global News she couldn’t believe it, and cried in her seat.

“They have no idea how much that money means to me,” she said. “This has been the best day of my life.”

Brian meeting with Nadia before the Jan. 1st game between the Canucks and Kraken in Seattle.

“She extended my life, she saved my life,” said Hamilton.

“The world needs to know this woman exists. She’s a hero,” Hamilton said. “We need to celebrate her and people like her that take the time to do things like this and save lives.”



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