‘Hero’: NHL fan spots man’s cancerous mole at game

A Seattle-based hockey fan spotted a cancerous mole on a visiting team’s staffer. By pointing it out, she may have saved his life. Today, two NHL teams are awarding the fan a $10,000 scholarship for medical school, according to reports.

Nadia Popovici, who was recently accepted into several medical schools, noticed a suspicious mole on the neck of Canucks’ assistant equipment manager Brian “Red” Hamilton while watching the Vancouver Canucks play the Seattle Kraken in Seattle on Oct. 23, NPR reported.

Once the game was over, Popovici gestured Hamilton over and held her phone up to the plexiglass to show him a message she had typed: “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!”

While Hamilton later admitted that he “didn’t give her the time of day,” he did ask his wife to look at it the next morning, and she noted its unusual shape, according to NPR.

Hamilton then went to see a doctor, and test results showed that Popovici was right: It was “malignant melanoma in situ 2, meaning the cancer was only on the outer layer of the skin and was detected before it could become even more dangerous,” NPR reported.

“She extended my life. I’ve got a wonderful family. I’ve got a wonderful daughter. She saved my life,” Hamilton said at a Canucks’ news conference Saturday. “She took me out of a slow fire. And the words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ignored that for four to five years, I wouldn’t be here.”

Hamilton wanted to thank the woman, so he wrote a letter that was posted on the Canucks’ social media accounts on Saturday, asking for the internet’s assistance in finding the woman he “considers his hero.”

“To this woman I am trying to find, you changed my life, and now I want to find you to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!” he wrote. “Problem is, I don’t know who you are or where you are from.”

The search did not take long. Popovici’s mother saw the letter and commented on the Facebook post: “She hasn’t even seen this message yet as she worked graveyard shift at the suicide crisis center in Seattle so she’s still asleep. She’ll be shocked to see this message!” her mother wrote.

“She will be at the game tonight in the same seats. She’ll be so happy and excited to know he got it checked! What wonderful news!!!! She just got accepted into multiple medical schools,” her mother continued.

Hamilton and Popovici did meet, later that day before the game. Popovici’s stepfather is a Kraken season ticket holder, and they regularly attend games together, according to The Seattle Times.

During the game, as a show of appreciation, the Canucks and the Kraken surprised Popovici with a $10,000 scholarship to use toward medical school expenses.