It brings new meaning to the old saying of playing with heart. In Tanner Fitzpatrick’s case, he was out for the first time testing out his new one. This kid is all heart. The 13-year-old was discharged from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children at 5 p.m. Monday, just 12 days after his intense heart transplant operation. His first stop? The Air Canada Centre to see the Maple Leafs against the Philadelphia Flyers, of course — courtesy of captain Dion Phaneuf. In fact, Tanner was one of 1,000 children from Sick Kids who have been hosted by Phaneuf as part of “Phaneuf’s Friends In the Captain’s Corner” program. We will call this an early Valentine’s story. “Feeling good,” said brave Tanner of his new pumper. “Feels great.” It has been long a journey for the kid from Burin, N.L., and his family. Nothing easy about getting a new heart. Nothing easy for the whole family, either. Lots of stress. Lots of wonder. Lots of worry. They were all smiles last night, though. The score of the game is not as important to them as the notion of being together as a family at the game. It certainly was just as big a night for his mom, Trudy, dad, Philip, and uncle, Shawn, who were at Tanner’s bedside the whole time and were with him rink-side Monday night. “Tanner is an inspiration to us all,” said Trudy. One person he is certainly an inspiration to was the 12-year-old boy in the same Captain’s Corner box with him. Miles Froggatt, of Whitby, lives each day with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and is on the same kind of waiting list for a new heart that Tanner was on up until a couple of weeks ago. “I am just waiting,” said Miles with a smile on his face. “I am all good.” He was accompanied by his mom, Leeanne, dad, Liam, and his little sister, Kaileigh, all original Newfoundlanders, who were thrilled to be at this great game. Hats off to Phaneuf for the initiative. Not only does he cover the costs of the patients but of the parents and medical staff, too.
Leafs' Phaneuf comes through for Sick Kids patients
Toronto Sun | Feb 12