Chris Falzone will have his dream come true on Monday night when he skates onto the ice as a member of the New York Rangers.
Falzone, 15, is a cancer survivor and, along with months of treatment and therapy, hockey is what kept him going.
“His skills were impeccable and we decided as an organization that we had to sign this young man,” said Rangers legend Adam Graves in a release. “He is a young man of great character and desire, we are proud and honored to have him as part of the Rangers organization.”
In his freshman year of high school, Falzone began to feel discomfort in his hip. What was initially thought to be pain from growth spurts or simply soreness from physical activity was later diagnosed as non-Hodgkin mature B cell lymphoma, a form of bone cancer. Luckily, the cancer was caught early enough to allow for a full recovery, but it has been a difficult road back to hockey for Falzone. He underwent months of physical and chemotherapy, and it has all led to skating out onto Madison Square Garden ice as a member of the Rangers.
When he was first diagnosed, Falzone was told it was unlikely that he would ever play hockey again, doctors telling him that he may have to undergo a full hip replacement. When his treatment options changed, it gave Falzone a glimmer of hope – if all went according to plan, he may be able to get back on the ice.
In April, Falzone, a lifelong Rangers fan, received a call from Graves and was invited to be a guest of the Rangers, even receiving an autographed jersey from his favorite player, defenseman Ryan McDonagh. It took until June for Falzone to have a fully healed hip, and a late June update on his YouCaring.com page, a fundraising website, let those following the young defenseman that he was well on his way to getting back on his skates.
As of July, Falzone was cleared to skate and has since rejoined the Middletown South High School team.
The Rangers, working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey, offered Falzone the contract on Dec. 4 after he took part in an open practice with the team.