NHL star donates $58,000 to young cancer patient

A 7-year-old boy recovering from leukemia got an assist from his idol, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Last week, Letang — who wears the number 58 — wrote a check for $58,000 to help with Ian Rosenbaum’s medical expenses, the team announced in a tweet Monday.

Last Thursday, the five-time NHL all-star personally handed his donation to Rosenbaum and his family after practice at PPG Paints Arena, according to the Penguins. Rosenbaum’s family was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“It has been amazing, overwhelming,” Ian’s mother Joelle told the Penguins. “For Ian to go through this and for someone like Kris to take time for our child is simply amazing.”

Rosenbaum, who’s from Stoystown, first met Letang in September. He was in Pittsburgh for an appointment at UPMC Children’s Hospital and attended a morning skate. The young fan requested a stick from his favorite player — but he received a lot more.

“For kids to go through this, it’s just harsh,” Letang told the Tribune-Democrat. “Any way I could help, I felt I would do it.”

The Penguins said when Letang found out about Ian’s struggles, he requested to meet him as well, and from there, the two struck up a friendship. Letang also attended a fundraiser held for Ian in November.

“Kris is a true hero to Ian,” Joelle said. “He definitely looks up to him. He talks about him every time he’s at Children’s (Hospital) to all the nurses. That’s something he will remember forever.”

Ian was sporting his No. 58 jersey and hat on Thursday and it’s something he hopes to keep forever.

“I want (58) to be my number,” said Rosenbaum, who aspires to play the same position as Letang someday.

“We are very blessed to have Ian,” Joelle said. “We were totally in shock when he got diagnosed with leukemia. His body gave us no signs. It was a total shock. He has been a trooper through it. God has blessed us with the road ahead and the people and community, our support from the hockey organization and the church has been amazing.”

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