MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University women's ice hockey team is hosting a special event tonight during its 7 p.m. NESCAC showdown against Little Three-rival Amherst, as the Cardinals will be hosting their "Pink in the Rink" game in order to raise awareness for the Joan B. Kilar Fund at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink in Middletown, Conn.
Joan Kilar, the mother of junior defensewoman Jackie Kilar, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer during Jackie's sophomore year of high school at John Stark Regional in Weare, N.H., and less than a year later on Feb. 23, 2014, Joan passed away. Joan's courageous response, strength to meet new challenges and desire to go on with life left a lasting impression on the entire Kilar family.
"I am more than excited for our upcoming Pink Game," Jackie said. "A major pinnacle of the event is to bring awareness to the local community through hockey. We hope that this event will help jump start our spring efforts, and allow us to hit the ground running when the postseason comes around."
Tonight, the team will be selling "CARDS VS. CANCER" T-shirts through Custom Ink, which include an image of Wesleyan's athletic logo and were designed specifically by the players.
"While raising money is important, a tight-knit, supportive community is even more important," said Jackie, who was blown away by the outpouring of support that her entire family received during her mother's illness. "It is something we highly value, and look forward to building even stronger in the future."
After arriving at Wesleyan in 2015, Jackie shared her story with her entire hockey family, and all her coaches and teammates wanted to help in her effort to support families battling cancer. The group has become a pillar in the Middletown community, organizing events such as Paint the Pumpkin Pink, which was hosted by the Comprehensive Breast Center at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn.
Jackie coined the cumulative effort as the JBK Fund, as she wanted to honor her mother, and thank her for the courage and tremendous legacy that she left behind.