Hayley Wickenheiser pays tribute to bravery of Grace Bowen, a young girl who battled cancer until the end

Women’s hockey legend Hayley WIckenheiser has inspired millions of hockey fans over the years. But on Wednesday she mourned the loss and celebrated the life of Grace Bowen, a young girl who battled cancer ferociously – and inspired Wickenheiser with her bravery.

Through her play on the ice and her commitment to her community off of it, women’s hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser has inspired millions of hockey-playing women and Canadians from all backgrounds. But Wednesday she took time on her website to write a beautiful tribute to a brave young girl who recently passed away after battling cancer.

Wickenheiser initially met the youngster, Grace Bowen, through her cousin at a fitness event approximately a year ago, and was moved by her story, developing a close friendship with the young girl and her family and visiting her in hospital. When Wickenheiser attended Canada’s Walk Of Fame ceremonies in October, she took Bowen along as her guest.

And after she learned of Bowen’s passing, Wickenheiser poured her heart out in a glorious celebration of who the youngster was: a fighter until the very end, when terminal cancer claimed her body March 13; a beautiful and resilient daughter and sister; and a true source of inspiration who will be remembered by anyone who either knew her or knew her story:

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“I will never forget Grace Bowen, and I will forever honour her in my heart and in my work,” Wickeheiser wrote. “Thank you Grace, you gave me many, many moments of joy and humility and gratitude. I love you and I will do my best to honour you forever.”

To read Wickenheiser’s full tribute to Bowen, click here.