Hockey players hit the ice to benefit family - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hockey players hit the ice to benefit family

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Hockey players hit the ice at the Mystique Community Ice Arena to raise funds for a fellow hockey player.

Old Bucks Hockey League takes men 30-years-old and older. Lance Hall had played in the league for more than 20 years, until doctors diagnosed him with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in the summer of 2009.

Three men from the league had organized a benefit hockey event for Hall on Saturday evening, called Lace 'em Up for Lance, which included a pay-to-play game, silent auction and raffle.

"He's one of us. He's a great guy," one organizer Joe Frayne said. "He has leukemia, he hasn't played in a couple of years. He had a bone marrow transplant around Thanksgiving."

It was a transplant that defied odds, Hall said.

"We had originally asked if we could test the kids, and they said, 'No, we don't even do that,' because the odds are so high that that would happen," Hall said.

It did happen, however. In fact, Lance Hall got a bone marrow hat trick: all three of his sons were a perfect match -- a very rare event, Hall said, according to his doctors.

"It's emotional that you can help out your parents in that way," Nathan Hall said, Lance Hall's oldest child and the son doctors chose to be the donor.

Saturday night, others donated funds to help the family offset costs.

"It speaks to his character that so many people in the hockey community and just around the community in general would step up and want to give," Nathan Hall said. "The reason they're that way is that he would've always been that way for them."

"What they're doing for me tonight is, it's not about fundraising, it's about relationships," Lance Hall said. "I certainly appreciate what they're doing for us. We have, you know, a lot of extra expenses, obviously, with everything going on, but it goes a lot deeper than that. I've been playing with them for 20 years."

"I'd like to be out here, playing with my dad next year," Hall's eldest said. "I know that's what he wants. We'll see if it happens. I think it can."

"I want to jog again," Hall said. "I want to play hockey again, and I want to watch my grandkids grow, and I want to get old with my wife. You know, I have a lot of reasons to live."

Despite the long battle, Hall said Saturday with certainty, "life is good."

It's an outlook he and his wife say they attribute to their faith.

"I feel like the luckiest guy in the world 'cause, you know, you go through things like this and you find out real fast what's important," Hall said, referring to his family. "The way they've been through this whole thing and the way everybody's bonded, it's been very eye-opening, and I'm very proud of all of them."

Hall said doctors tell him he's ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Although he wasn't able to make it to the hockey game, to protect his weak immune system, he said he planned on watching it via live Web streaming.

The original goal for the benefit was $10,000, but organizers say they far surpassed that.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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