Seattle Kraken Fan Called a Hero

Future med student spotted malignant mole on Canucks staffer's neck
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2022 3:10 PM CST
Seattle Kraken Fan Called a Hero
Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici poses for a photo before an NHL hockey game between the Kraken and the Vancouver Canucks Jan. 1 in Seattle. Popovici is showing the text of a message she showed to Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian "Red" Hamilton on Oct. 23.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – When Nadia Popovici showed the Vancouver Canucks’ equipment manager a message on her phone last October, he barely acknowledged it. But the message changed his life. The hockey fan was sitting behind the bench and happened to notice a scary mole on the back of Brian “Red” Hamilton’s neck. Popovici recently graduated from the University of Washington and had spent a lot of time volunteering in hospitals, so she was pretty confident the mole was cancerous, the Seattle Times reports. “I acknowledge that it’s so uncomfortable to have something on your body pointed out,” Popovici said, so she waited until there was nobody behind him to show him the message she’d typed on her phone: “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!”

Hamilton was caught off guard and left without so much as a wave. But he did get it checked out, and it was indeed malignant. “She extended my life,” he said in a press conference Saturday. "She didn't take me out of a burning car, like in the big stories, but she took me out of a slow fire," he said, per CBC. He credited the die-hard Kraken fan with being a hero in a heartfelt message posted to Twitter. That tweet went viral, with hockey fans all over working to figure out Popovici’s identity. When she came home from a shift working a crisis line, her mom told her she was famous. And when she went to the Kraken home game on Saturday, Hamilton changed her life right back, because telling the world about her kind act inspired the Canucks and the Kraken to go in together on a scholarship for her. Popovici is planning to attend medical school, and the teams are giving her a $10,000 scholarship. (Read more hero stories.)

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