Anders Lee of the New York Islanders successfully hosted his third Kancer Jam fundraiser on November 18 at the Barclays Center to support families affected by cancer. This event was even more emotional than past events though, as one special guest was not in attendance.
Fenov Pierre-Louis was the inspiration for the first Kancer Jam event and someone Lee came to consider as family throughout their years of friendship. Tragically, Fenov lost his hard-fought battle with stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer on July 18 at just 17 years of age.
"Fenov was one of those people that came into my life and really just changed me right away, changed my perspective on things," Lee said. "He just made that much of an impact on me in such a short amount of time. It's amazing what you can learn from a 17-year-old kid. He was wise beyond his years.”
Kancer Jam is set up tournament-style, with players from the Islanders pairing up with fans to try and land a Frisbee in a can to collect points. In order to join the event, each of the 32 teams who participated had to raise $2,500.
The total funds raised through the initiative for 2018 is currently over $127,000, outpacing a goal of $110,000, and the amount is expected to keep rising. Since the first Kancer Jam event in 2016, Lee has helped raise more than $300,000 in donations for organizations that support families affected by cancer.
Lee also used the day to announce a new academic scholarship in honor of Fenov and his unrelenting dedication to his schoolwork. "Fenov was so focused on school and considering how often he missed school for treatments when he was in Philadelphia coming back to New Jersey, he was still getting straight A’s and really cared about his schoolwork," Lee said. "The scholarship is going to be aimed toward kids that not only work hard in the classroom but also do stuff in the community for kids with cancer."
Despite his short life, Fenov managed to live out his dream of positively impacting those around him, especially those fighting battles similar to his own. His words, proudly displayed on a banner at the event, serve as an important reminder: “Even the smallest amount of help and sympathy you can provide to a child with cancer will mean the absolute world.” Lee’s poignant mission to defeat cancer is one that he and the rest of the Islanders community are committed to fighting for years to come.