Hockey fan who spotted Vancouver Canucks staffer’s cancerous mole given $10,000 medical school scholarship

A woman who alerted a hockey staffer to a suspicious mole on his neck has been given a medical school scholarship to say thank you for saving for his life.

Nadia Popovici was in the stands behind the Vancouver Canuck’s assistant equipment manager, Brian Hamilton, to watch their game against the Seattle Kraken back in October when she spotted the mole.

The hockey fan, who is preparing to study at medical school, alerted Mr Hamilton to the growth by writing a message on her phone and pressing it against the glass that separates supporters and team members.

As a result, he got a doctor to take a look at the mole, which was subsequently removed and found to be cancerous.

“She extended my life… she saved my life,” Mr Hamilton said.

“The words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ignored that for four to five years I wouldn’t be here.

“How she saw it boggles my mind. It wasn’t very big, I wear a jacket, I wear a radio on the back of my jacket… she’s a hero.”

After acting on Ms Popovici’s advice, Mr Hamilton wanted to say thank you but did not know her name so set up a social media appeal to track her down.

The team tweeted that they wanted to find the fan before they returned to play Seattle at Climate Pledge Arena on 1 January and within a couple of hours had succeeded.

“The message you showed me on your cell phone will forever be etched into my brain and has made a true life-changing difference for me and my family,” Mr Hamilton wrote in the appeal.

“Your instincts were right and the mole on the back of my neck was a malignant melanoma and thanks to your persistence and the quick work of our doctors, it is now gone.”

The pair were reunited at the National Hockey League game, where Ms Popovici told him: “I was so nervous to bring it up so I tried to catch you at a moment where there weren’t a lot of people around. I’m so glad you saw.”

It was later announced that both teams had joined forces to award Ms Popovici a $10,000 (£7,392) scholarship for medical school.

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