The Colgate Scene
May 2007

Sports

Ethan Cox '10 presents Miranda Hadlock with a special Raider jersey while her mom, Holli, of Colgate's mail services, looks on. [Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Student-athlete steps up for young cancer patient

All eyes were on center ice just before the Colgate/Clarkson men's hockey game, as an 8-year-old girl fighting — and winning — her battle with brain cancer stood with her mom in front of some 1,800 fans at Starr Rink.

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It was Miranda Hadlock's time to be in the spotlight, which she and her family gladly shared with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In a special ceremony, Miranda was presented with a personalized Colgate jersey. Making the presentation was first-year forward Ethan Cox, who organized the tribute to Miranda and a weekend fund-raiser for Make-A-Wish. 

Cox, who has lost several family members to cancer, heard about Miranda through Michele Kelley '02, assistant director of athletic communications, and immediately took up her cause.

"We just had to come up with something to recognize Miranda's strength," said Cox. "She's such a young girl, so it's important to show her that there is a huge group of supporters who are there to bring her more courage."

More than $750 was raised for the organization at the two weekend games, and more money was raised through the sale of special "third" jerseys worn by Colgate players. The jerseys, which resembled uniforms from the 1980s, were made possible by longtime team supporter Andy Robble, who made the donation in memory of his late father, with whom he attended many Raiders home games. The 24 jerseys were sold for $200 each, supporting both Make-A-Wish and the Silver Puck Club. 

"It's just so great that a group that helped us so much will be getting some extra money to help other families," said Miranda's mom, Holli Hadlock, who has worked in the university's mail room for the past seven years. Holli, a longtime Raiders hockey fan, said Miranda had been talking about the ceremony for days. And the timing couldn't have been better.

Just four days before, Miranda was at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse undergoing another MRI and beginning another round of chemotherapy. Her dad, Shane Hadlock, was holding her chemo pills during the Raiders game because they would not get home in time for Miranda to take them.

The tests — and the waiting for results — have defined much of the Hadlocks' lives since April 14, 2006, the day surgeons removed an apple-sized cancerous tumor from Miranda's brain.

"You really do learn to live day by day and to take things one step at a time," said Holli. 

The family received good news from Miranda's physician, James W. Holsapple, a day before they went to Starr Rink: There is no sign of the cancer returning. Holsapple, whose wife, Susan, is a visiting professor of sociology at Colgate, came to the game to be with Miranda, even though he was on call.

About 15 others, including relatives, friends, and teachers who work with Miranda at Waterville Central Schools, came to see her take her walk to center ice.

"It's incredible the amount of support we've had from so many people," said Holli. "The people at Colgate have been terrific, very supportive. You get people you don't even know sending cards and letters." 

Make-A-Wish volunteers had arranged a four-day Disney Cruise for the family in December. The trip included limousine rides from the family's Brookfield home to the Syracuse airport and back home again. After the operation last April and an intensive round of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, Miranda returned to school in September. She has since regained a lot of strength and doesn't tire as easily, except during rounds of chemotherapy (she recently finished her last round). She's missed just occasional school days because of doctor appointments or tests. 

Up in the stands at the Colgate-Clarkson game, the young girl who used to be shy and quiet was more than willing to show anyone and everyone her new Raiders jersey and the ceremonial puck she received. 

"It's been a heckuva year," said Holli. "What everyone has done for us, what Ethan has done for us and for Make-A-Wish, is very much appreciated."

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