Hockey Fan Spots Cancerous Mole

On October 23rd a 22-year old medical student by the name of Nadia Popovici was at a NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Popovici was sitting behind the Canucks bench watching the game when she noticed that the assistant equipment manager, Brian Hamilton, had a small mole on the back of his neck.

Having volunteered at hospitals throughout her early career and being around melanoma she knew that she just had to let Hamilton know. She quickly wrote a message on her phone saying, “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!” and holding it up to the plexiglass dividing the crowd from the ice.

Hamilton had the team doctor look at the mole and they decided to get it removed. After the biopsy report came back it was identified to be a type 2 malignant melanoma. Within a week, Hamilton was cancer-free.

Hamilton then posted a call-out message on the Canucks Twitter page.
“I am trying to find a very special person … [who] changed my life,” he wrote. “That evening, 23 October, and the message you showed me on your cellphone will forever be etched into my brain and has made a true life-changing difference for me and my family.”

After Popovici was identified the teams reached out and found that she was already planning on attending the game on January 2nd. During a timeout in Saturday’s game, the Canucks and Kraken announced a $10,000 scholarship for Popovici, towards medical school tuition.

If anything, this story shows the importance of doing a monthly skin self exam.