Dear Langley Minor Hockey Players, Parents, and Families,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you all that on September 18th, 2019, one of our LMHA players was diagnosed with cancer.

In the midst of Rep Try Outs, player Markus Janssens began feeling a shortness of breath.  Undeterred, Markus continued to push through the increasingly painful feeling in his chest to complete Rep Try Outs, eventually earning a spot on LMHA’s Bantam A2 Team.  On the same day Markus was selected for the LMHA Bantam A2 team, he stepped off the ice and his parents took him to the local hospital where he was admitted with what was initially thought to be pneumonia or a lung-related hockey injury.  Unfortunately, Markus’ condition worsened throughout the course of the week and his lung collapsed.  He was then transferred to the BC Children’s Hospital where further tests revealed that the shortness of breath Markus was experiencing during try outs was caused by a large cancerous tumour above his heart.

Markus has been in the ICU at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver undergoing chemotherapy treatments since being diagnosed with cancer. It is anticipated that the chemotherapy treatments will melt the tumour away without the need for invasive surgery.

As you can imagine, the excitement Markus’ felt at the prospect of playing competitive hockey this year vanished with his diagnosis.  And I’m sure we can all appreciate that his family’s sense of normal has also been turned upside down.  His father Al has a business he must continue to manage while commuting back and forth to the hospital on a daily basis to help care for Markus.  His mother Annika has had to take a leave of absence from work, and her volunteer position on the LMHA Board of Directors as our Novice Division Manager, as well to be present at the hospital while Markus undergoes critical treatments.

Once Markus is eventually discharged from the hospital after this round of chemotherapy, his battle with cancer will be far from over.  It’s anticipated that Markus’ cancer treatments will have to continue for a period of 2-3 years, with the hope that he may be cured.

Throughout the years to come, both Markus and his parents will have to regularly travel back and forth from the BC Children’s Hospital so that Markus can continue to undergo more rounds of life saving chemotherapy.  Of course there’s no way to know for sure how significant an impact this will have on the Janssens family, but it is highly likely that Annika’s leave of absences from work may need to continue for extended periods of time of so that she can be available to provide care for Markus at home and be available to take him to and from the hospital.

Annika’s leave of absence from work, combined with the daily hospital commuting and parking costs, has already begun to have a significant financial impact on the Janssens family.  With the assistance of Annika’s sister Christina, the Langley Minor Hockey Association has established a GoFundMe site for Markus and the Janssens family to help provide them with some financial support throughout the long and difficult journey ahead of them.  I would like to encourage everyone to visit the site at https://www.gofundme.com/f/gn22uw-markus-janssens-needs-your-help to make a donation – no donation is too small.  The Langley Minor Hockey Association has also partnered with our local Langley Rivermen and are currently looking into other ways we can collectively raise funds for the Janssens family.

I would also like to encourage those of you who are friends with Markus and the Janssens family to visit Markus at home upon his return.  If you would like to get in touch with the Janssens family to offer them your support, please feel free to do so by email to Annika at aujanssens@gmail.com.

I ask you all to please join me in doing what we can to help this wonderful Langley Minor Hockey family in their time of need.

Sincerely,
Aaron Sproule
President, Langley Minor Hockey Association

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