Breast cancer survivor touched by support from son's John Marshall hockey teammates
Brenda Ewing was at a Rochester John Marshall boys hockey game early this season when she decided to stop by a table where JM hockey merchandise was being sold.
While standing there, the father of a JM player walked by wearing a pink stocking cap that had a small ribbon on the front with the words "JM Hockey" written over top of the ribbon.
Ewing, whose son, Zach, is a senior forward for the Rockets, said her first thought was that she would like to get one of the pink hats. Then she was told that the hats were being sold forher.
"I was kind of dumbfounded by it all," she said.
The hats are the result of an idea hatched by several of Zach's teammates, who wanted to help raise money for Brenda Ewing and her two sons. Brenda, a single mother who runs a home daycare, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of last year. At one point, she feared she may lose her house because of the cost of treatment and the amount of time she needed to spend away from her job.
She told Zach, 18, and Cody, 15, shortly after she was diagnosed.
"It was late May, right before school ended," Zach said. "It was definitely an emotional time at home. We're a close family and we all care for each other so much. Basically, I just wanted to be strong for the whole family."
That's when the other seven seniors on the Rockets hockey team (they didn't let Zach in on the plan) had the pink stocking hats created. They have sold them for $15 at John Marshall High School and at JM hockey games. The first order of 30 sold out and a second order is almost gone.
"It really touches my heart that teenagers, especially the boys hockey team, would even think about doing something like this," Brenda Ewing said. "A lot of people think that teenagers, if something doesn't concern them, they don't care about it. But when they did, it really touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It's just a great thing the boys are doing."
Everywhere the Ewings turned, someone was offering support. Zach's bosses at Culver's would adjust his work schedule whenever he needed it, so he could drive his mom to her chemotherapy appointments. Brenda received a number of care packages from members of the JM Red Line Club. The creation of the pink stocking hats took that support to another level.
"It was definitely a good sign that (friends and teammates) are there for us and there with us," Zach Ewing said.
Brenda is now done with radiation and chemotherapy, hopefully for good. She still sees a doctor once every three weeks for a preventative treatment, but she is back to running her daycare full-time and her biggest worry now is how far away Zach will go for college in the fall.
"Right after I was diagnosed, Pat King (mother of JM goalie Bryan) came right away with flowers and a card from the Red Line Club (JM's hockey booster club)," Brenda Ewing said. "They're a hockey family, but they truly are a family that will pull together for each other."
Zach's teammates said that they have had the easy job — being there to support the Ewings.
"It would be really hard going through the whole process, trying to focus on school and hockey, and Zach has a job, too," JM senior defenseman AJ Johnson said. "He has handled everything so well. He's been really strong through it all."