Our local hockey associations and one man in particular, James “Mort” McVay, have come together to support our family over the last year since my youngest son was diagnosed with DIPG Brain Cancer on 12/31/2019. I have two sons: Zackery is an 8-year old Red Mite in the SHAHA Association in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and my youngest son, Jacob is 6 and started playing Little Pens in 2019 through SHAHA with the intent of playing as a Mite this year. However, Jacob was diagnosed with DIPG on December 31, 2019. We have been fighting it as a family, as a hockey association and as a local hockey community ever since. Immediately following Jacob’s diagnoses, Zackery’s coach, James “Mort” McVay, began an unbelievable effort to support Jacob and our family. He put together a “GoFundMe” account that has raised nearly $40,000 to help with expenses associated with experimental nature of Jacob’s care, much of which was from the families of the SHAHA family. He organized a communication network that has brought Jacob into prayer circles all around the US, he put together Meal Trains for our family, he helped us get engaged with support from the Pittsburgh Penguins, he put together a birthday party for Zackery when we were unable to do anything due to being at DC Children’s National Hospital for experimental treatment, he used his contacts with medical experts around the U.S. to get us in touch with the best experts in the world and into a promising medical trials. Mort arranges for fundraisers by Bethel Park High School Hockey and helped coordinate additional support from the Mt Lebanon Hornets and the Southpointe Rink Rats. Jacob’s Fight continues every day, and his fight will save lives, maybe millions starting with his, as he forges a roadmap for care that is just the tip of the spear. With the support of Mort, Jacob’s guardian angel on earth, our SHAHA hockey family and the Pittsburgh Hockey Community, we will win this!
– Submitted by Mark S.