A junior ice hockey team in the United States is making a special young girl’s dream come true on the ice.
On Monday, January 29th, the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League revealed the special jerseys they will be wearing at their seventh annual Sanford Children’s Night on Friday, February 9th. The jerseys were designed by a 10-year-old girl named Charleigh, this year’s champion for the Children’s Miracle Network for Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota.
„These jerseys are all Charleigh,“ a Sanford employee said, according to the Force’s website. They feature everything Charleigh loves: unicorns, rainbows, and the color purple. The collar, numbers, and contrasting name tag are also light blue, matching the ribbons worn to raise awareness for Charleigh’s condition, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
The jerseys are mostly white, with a unicorn holding a hockey stick on the front and the „FARGO FORCE“ lettering above it. Rainbow stripes run around the waist and sleeves.
The shoulders of the jersey feature light blue, black-bordered numbers, while a rainbow with clouds at the ends appears further down the sleeve. The numbers on the back are also light blue with black bordering. Names are printed in white on a light blue name tag. The logos of Sanford Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network are on the back collar.
Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the game. The proceeds will benefit the Sanford Children’s Foundation. Charleigh will be present at the February 9th game to perform the ceremonial puck drop during the first intermission and receive the Sanford Children’s Miracle Network Champion medal.
Charleigh was placed into emergency foster care at the age of five in October 2018 and admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Sanford Children’s. At the time, her condition was so severe that doctors gave her a life expectancy of less than 12 hours.
But thanks to life-saving equipment and expert medical care at Sanford, Charleigh survived and is now doing well with her adoptive parents. She spent two months at Sanford receiving treatment for HLH, which included chemotherapy and support for behavioral and other physical challenges.
HLH is a rare immune deficiency disease that can be fatal if left untreated. According to Johns Hopkins University, it most commonly affects infants and young children, causing certain white blood cells to attack other blood cells. The abnormal blood cells accumulate in the spleen and liver, leading to enlargement of these organs.