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VRANA REMAINS INSPIRED BY HIS MOTHER'S COURAGE DURING BATTLE WITH CANCER

Jakub Vrana has always enjoyed the Hockey Fights Cancer Month activities each November, as he believes it is his opportunity to bring positive vibes to those who are battling the terrible disease.

Cancer hit close to home with him when his mother, Jana Vranova, was diagnosed with cancer in her lymph nodes five years ago. The Capitals forward knew a positive mindset was huge back then, and it still is today.

"As I know from my experience, it's a good thing," Vrana said from Sweden, where he's training while awaiting word on when training camp for the 2020-21 season will begin. "So when I'm talking to the people when we have the skate or visit them at the hospital, I haven't been through it, but I have experience in my family."

Sadly, the NHL has decided not to have any Hockey Fights Cancer skates or hospital visits this November because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. NHL teams are finding other ways to highlight fans that have been impacted by the disease.

Vrana was ecstatic to be able to share his mother’s story with cancer, and the courage that she showed throughout the process, especially since three years later she was declared cancer free. Vrana was 19 when and playing in the Swedish Hockey League when his half sister Jana Krizova told him the bad news about their mother. She had discovered a bump under her arm, and tests revealed that she had cancer in her lymph nodes. Surgery was going to be required to remove the lumps from her neck and arms.

During this time he was torn as to whether or not he should return home to support his family or stay and play hockey. His mom believed that he should keep playing hockey because that is when she was the happiest.



"I mostly played for her," Vrana said. "Even now when I play for Washington and she's watching the games I know she's still watching and that makes her happy, that makes her feel positive. She's a strong woman and that makes her feel happy and she doesn't think about cancer. She's just happy. She knows her son plays for Washington or in Sweden or wherever. She's watching me and that's when she's happiest."

Like most cancer patients do, Vranova lost her hair, but she did not lose her biggest key in defeating cancer: determination. Vrana always thought that his mother had the determination to beat it and she did.

"I just knew right away she was going to beat it because I just believed in her. I just saw it," he said. "When I was lying in bed at night, I was thinking about it a lot that I know my mom, she's a really strong woman and she will beat it."

Source: nhl.com
BRENNEN BEAUDIN
NOVEMBER 27, 2020  (15H41)
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