ASHBURN, Va. (7News) — It's the toughest job in a sport that takes a lot of guts just to suit up and hit the ice.
“You have one job and one job only: keep that puck out," says hockey mom Traci Cole.
For 11-year-old hockey goaltender Ike Cole of the Ashburn Extreme, honing his skills at practice by preventing the puck from getting past him during the month of October is about far more than winning. It’s about giving someone like his mom, Traci, a second chance at life.
“Yeah, she just got cleared from cancer like a year ago. Made us feel really happy," Ike said.
Ike is one of more than 1,000 goalies across North America fundraising for a critical cause. Every time he deflects or catches a puck in a game he’s raising cash - through pledges - for October Saves: a non-profit run by breast cancer survivor Lara Hopewell.
“You go with what you know. My kids were goaltenders so we decided let’s see if we can do something at the rink and it just took off," Hopewell explained.
October Saves raised around $30,000 its first year in 2014. This year, Hopewell expects to raise more than half a million dollars, with the money going toward women’s and pediatric cancer research.
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“They are doing this for their moms, their grandmoms, in honor of family members, in honor of kids they may know who are fighting cancer," Hopewell added.
Ike’s mom, Traci, is a Breast and recent Colon Cancer survivor.
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“Every single shot he stops is raising money to help cancer awareness and to find that cure so the next person doesn’t have to go through what I went through, twice now," Traci Cole said.
It’s no surprise, Ike is one of the top fundraisers in North America, with nearly $4,500 pledged. And we're only halfway through the month of October.
“And I’m very proud of him and I’m just so happy that he does this and he did it for me. I love you Ike," says his mom Traci.
This tough athlete with a tender heart credits October Saves with making him a better goalie to go with already being a great kid.