Now cancer free, Lightning fan ready for reunion today
After his "Make-A-Wish" moment meeting the Lightning in mid-November, Jake Warner set a goal.
The next time the Lightning returned to Raleigh, where Warner, 17, lives, he'd be able to "walk" into PNC Arena and see them.
It'd be no easy task, with Warner undergoing a below the knee amputation on his left leg on Thanksgiving in an attempt to rid himself of a rare cancer called Pseudomyogenichemangioendothelioma.
But today, when the Lightning faces the Hurricanes, Warner and his family plan to be there. With the help of a prosthetic, Warner will be there in Lightning gear, his family saying he's cancer-free. It'll be his first game since seeing Tampa Bay play in November.
"Needless to say, he has had this date circled on his calendar for a long time," said Jake's father, Craig.
Jake grew up playing lacross and hockey, a left wing and center, before his diagnosis was made last year. A Lightning fan, Jake got hooked up with the Lightning for the November meet-and-greet at a morning skate due to the family reaching out to former Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford, who relayed the message to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. Craig said while they are Hurricanes season ticket holders, they "cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me what the Lightning organization has done for Jake."
Jake is even making a customized prosthetic with the Lightning logo, though it wasn't ready for today's gathering at PNC Arena.
But, as Craig said, "This story truly does have a happy ending."