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LOGAN NELSON PLAYS FOR HIS AUNT, KENDRA REICHERT

Thursday, February 16th
LOGAN NELSON PLAYS FOR HIS AUNT, KENDRA REICHERT

Logan Nelson plays for Kendra Reichert. That’s what his jersey will say during Rush Fights Cancer Night on Saturday evening. And it’s also what will be in his mind and in his heart when he takes the ice against the Toledo Walleye.

As part of the night, Rush players were given the opportunity to wear patches featuring the name of a loved one who has been affected by cancer on their sweaters, specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off postgame with a portion of proceeds being donated to the Monument Health Foundation. All but six players took this option.

“It’s an emotional thing,” Nelson said. “So many people are affected by cancer.”

Reichert, Nelson’s aunt, passed away from breast cancer in October 2022, just one day after her 58th birthday. Originally diagnosed in August 2013, she underwent a successful first round of treatment that sent her cancer into remission for over eight years.

But it came back.

“She got to live cancer free for eight years after beating it,” Nelson said. “She was a fighter, man. I don’t know many people that go through that and would be as happy as she was every time you saw her.”

Reichert was cancer free until a routine scan in August 2021 showed the breast cancer was back and had spread to her bones. After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she continued working and living a normal, active life while on a target therapy for her bones.

But the following spring, the cancer was found to have spread to her lymph nodes. And soon it was in her abdomen, liver and bowels. The cancer moved quickly, and although Reichert continued to fight as she always had, eventually there was nothing more to be done.

“Everyone thought it was over with, and then it comes back and there’s nothing she can do,” Nelson said. “It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow at the end of the day, but she’s in a better place now.”

Nelson describes Reichert as the rock of the family and paints the picture of someone who was always upbeat and in a good mood. A positive person who did not let her disease take away her joy or her zest for life.

“It didn’t matter what she was doing, she was pumped to be there,” Nelson said. “She just had a good attitude, and she really didn’t have any reason to have one.

“It sucks, but sometimes it seems like they pick the good people to give it to because they know how to handle it and they don’t ever complain about it. They’re the light when they probably shouldn’t be the one who is excited and happy.”

Reichert left behind eight children and grandchildren, two of whom she did not get to meet before her passing.

“We were a really close family,” Nelson said. “I would go over there for dinner just on a random day. We didn’t just see each other on holidays. I still kind of don’t believe it that she’s gone. It’s gonna be cool for me to have her name and to play for her.”

Nelson will also paint Reichert’s name on the ice on Thursday during the team’s Paint the Ice event, set to take place from 5-7 p.m. at The Monument Ice Arena. The weekend’s games will take place on ice that features messages of remembrance, hope and triumph against the horrible disease that affects so many.

Now in his ninth professional season, Nelson has seen plenty of Hockey Fights Cancer nights. The 29-year-old center has worn his share of specialty jerseys and has skated on ice featuring Reichert’s name before. But Saturday will be different. Because now, she’s gone.

“Every chance I’ve had her name around and have been thinking about her when we play those games,” Nelson said. “For me obviously it’s not as intense of a feeling as it is for her kids and my uncle. But it will mean a lot.”

The Rush are auctioning off several pieces of team-signed memorabilia as part of Rush Fights Cancer Night and will be donating proceeds to multiple organizations. This includes two blankets, made by Rush fan Geri Drabek out of the game socks from last season’s Rush Fights Cancer Night. There is also a jersey from the 2022 Rush Fights Cancer Night that has been signed by the entire 2022-23 Rush team. Proceeds from the blankets and jersey will be donated in their entirety to the Reichert family to benefit medical and funeral expenses. Anybody wishing to donate directly can do so via the family’s GoFundMe page.

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