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September 20, 21, 22

Another great tournament at The Nelson Center this year, to raise funds at a one-of-a-kind men’s hockey tournament that donated proceeds to the on-going medical needs & treatments for Danielle Loftus.

3rd Annual "Skate 4 Danielle"

Hockey Tounament

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If you would like to make a $50. donation directly to The Danielle Loftus Fund, a PayPal link is available below.

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This is the entry from Danielle's Caringbridge site written 9/22/13


This weekend was the 3rd Annual Skate 4 Danielle Hockey tournament. 3 years ago at this time life was very, VERY different. Danielle was an inpatient at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and Jeff and I were switching weeks going back and forth between being a single parent for Taylor and Rachel, OR living in Danielle's room, sleeping on a fold out chair. We have come a long way since then. Having Danielle just down the hall, being able to sleep together in our own bed, AND being full time parents are each blessings that we took for granted before the accident. Life really can change in an instant... luckily some things CAN stay the same. Jeff has played hockey for as long as I have known him, and during those weeks when Jeff was available to skate, the group of guys he skates with offered Jeff an outlet that did not change, they skate, exchange banter, tell the same stories over a cold beer and poke fun at each other, and that alone is more precious than I can tell you. When life is upside down, the things that do not change can become an anchor, keeping you grounded, and strong.


The first annual Skate for Danielle came about as a way for the hockey guys, (who are like family you choose... a gang of brothers) to show support for Jeff, Danielle, and our family. Wayne Piepenbrink has played a HUGE roll  in the planning and organizing of all 3 Skate 4 Danielle hockey tournaments, getting ice time, organizing teams, timers, food, the list goes on... THANK YOU WAYNE! I hesitate to name additional names because I will surely leave someone out, many have stepped up to help, sponsors, volunteers, donations of talents and time... and I can't forget ALL OF THE TEAMS who skated this weekend and in previous tournaments, obviously, there could not be a tournament without them! Thank you never seems to be enough, but I know no one has helped us to receive anything in return, but please know we are grateful, SO VERY grateful!!!


Today the Championship games for the Skate 4 Danielle tournament were scheduled. The team Jeff plays on is called The Manatees, a name they affectionately call themselves because they are old and slow. HAHA! We (Danielle, Taylor, Rachel and I) were unable to make it to any of the other games because I am chained to the computer for the next week, doing graphic design for our monthly publication, the Heartland Homes. But regardless of who was playing in the Championship, we wanted to be there... it ended up that the Silver and Bronze divisions played at the same time, (sigh) so we only made it to one. We made plans to attend, The Manatee's (Daddy's team) vs. The Yellow Jackets game for the Bronze Championship.


The girls and I all dressed in outfits that supported the Skate for Danielle tournament and The Manatee's...we loaded Danielle up into the handicap van, and arrived at the rink to see both teams on the ice doing warm ups. The girls got all cozied up in their fuzzy blankets, and I  bundled Danielle up (it was cold), and we waited for the puck to drop. What I did not expect, was for The Manatee team to skate across, from the opposite side of the ice and for each of them to file past Danielle, making eye contact with her and gently rapping their hockey stick on the glass in tribute to her... and as I was wiping tears from my eyes, The Yellow Jackets (the opposing team) all filed past and did the same. It took a little while for me to compose myself... all of these big, strong men in hockey pads and helmets, TOUGH guys who I have seen and heard about getting cuts, bruises, teeth knocked out... who come off the ice only to wipe the blood off their wounds so they can get back out there, were skating past Danielle, letting her know they are skating today for HER. They may look tough on the outside, but on the inside they have HEARTS OF GOLD!


It was a good game, lots of end to end action, lots of shots, some good saves, I think Danielle really enjoyed herself. At one point I stood with her right next to the glass so she could see better, and that is when I think she really got engaged in the game. When the final buzzer rang out, The Manatees were the Victors! After lots of cheering, I rolled Danielle out onto the ice (with some help) and when the teams saw Danielle's wheelchair they all began to cheer, tapping their hockey sticks on the ice, it was SO COOL!!! Here is a photo of the team with Danielle... they wanted the girls and I in the photo too!


Moments from last weekend and this weekend, the pure, unselfish, love being poured out on Danielle and our family, make our most tragic moments endurable. I pray that you never truly understand what I mean by that statement.Please continue to pray for Danielle.~Lynell

THANK YOU to these Skate 4 Danielle Sponsors:

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