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Tyler Richards Adds a Personal Touch to Pink in the Rink Fundraiser

03/16/2012, 12:14pm PDT
By Washington Stealth

Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards has a history of breast cancer in his family. It's inspired him to create a new way to raise money and awareness for the cause.

Stealth Owner Denise Watkins (left) and Goaltender Tyler Richards (right) pose after last year's Pink in the Rink event, which raised over $20,000 for breast cancer prevention and treatment (Photo: Henry Valentine)

On March 25, the Washington Stealth will be holding its third annual Pink in the Rink event, which raises funds and awareness for breast cancer prevention and treatment. The event will feature the “Stick it to Breast Cancer” fundraiser benefiting the Providence Comprehensive Breast Center. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to many families throughout the world, something Stealth goaltender Tyler Richards knows firsthand.

Richards’ family has a history with breast cancer, a disease that will claim the lives of over 40,000 women this year. His grandmother fought the disease successfully 15 years ago and his mother just completed treatment for the second time just three months ago.

His mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly ten years ago. Doctors felt they found it early and, after undergoing treatment, the cancer went into remission. Six months ago, a cancerous tumor was found in her other breast and for the second time, treatment caused the cancer to go into remission.

“Obviously it’s a very difficult thing to see your mom go through,” said the Stealth’s 25-year old goaltender who has led the team to each of the last two NLL Championship Games. “I always wished there was more I could do. I wanted to find something to carry some of the burden for her.”

While he is unable to carry the burden for his mother, Richards’ close experience with her ongoing battle with the disease has opened his eyes to the ways he can help.

“Breast cancer is hereditary in my family,” he added. “One day I might have a daughter of my own that has to deal with this. Every little bit that I can do to help with bettering technology so we can prevent and treat this disease could give my future daughter, and so many others, a better chance to fight this.”

As part of the Stealth’s Pink in the Rink event, Richards has offered to donate five dollars for every save made by a Stealth goaltender during the team’s game with the Minnesota Swarm that night. He also asks that Stealth fans join him in pledging to the cause.

“Every little bit that we can raise will save lives,” said Richards, who wears a breast cancer ribbon on his helmet during games as a tribute to his grandmother, mother and the millions battling the disease. “It’s a cause I am dedicated to supporting and I hope I set a new career-high in saves to help raise as much money as possible.”

Richards’ current career-high is 59 saves, which he recorded earlier this season against the Calgary Roughnecks.

Stealth owner Denise Watkins, whose family also has a history with breast cancer, was touched by Richards’ idea. She has offered to match up to $5,000 of the money raised by Richards and fans through the Saves Pledge.

“This is a cause that is very special to me, much like Tyler,” said Watkins. “Not only is this a fantastic idea for a fundraiser, but his effort to help others is an inspiration. I encourage fans to ask their organizations to join me in matching the money raised through the Saves Pledge.”

Fans who wish to pledge a dollar amount for every save made by a Stealth goaltender on March 25, can do so by emailing saves@stealthlax.com with the dollar amount and contact information.

The Stealth’s annual Pink in the Rink event, featuring the “Stick it to Breast Cancer” fundraiser benefiting Providence Comprehensive Breast Center, will take place on March 25 at 4:45pm at the Comcast Arena at Everett. The fundraiser will include a silent auction, featuring game-worn, special edition pink Stealth jerseys and donations from other organizations in the area. For a complete list of fundraising events, click here.

Tickets for the event start at just $7 and are available by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.

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