EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Back in November, Munn Ice Arena was painted purple as part of Michigan State’s Hockey Team’s Spartan’s Full Strength Campaign.
During the month, MSU Athletics donated $1 for every ticket sold to Brandon’s Defense Foundation, an organization created in honor of Brandon Gordon, a DeWitt hockey player who was diagnosed with cancer back in 2007. On Saturday, Head Coach Adam Nightingale and some Spartans were one hand to hit the links, but more importantly, present the foundation with a check for over $21,000.
“It’s incredible,” Julie Gordon, Brandon’s mom said. “I don’t know any other word that comes to my mind, but just that I’m so grateful. We’ve had this ongoing partnership with MSU now for so long, and to have them be a part of our event today is just extra special.”
“I think it shows the impact we have in the community and the support we get from everyone,” Karsen Dorwart, sophomore forward said. “Just all the money we raise we couldn’t do without everyone in the community.”
“Obviously you want to win every game you play in and recruiting is competitive and such, but when you take a step back, we really do serve a purpose here in the community and try and impact it,” Adam Nightingale, MSU Hockey Coach said. “And when I look at Spartan Hockey and their the tradition of giving back in the community, it is now our job to try to continue that with the guys we currently have.”
This relationship between Brandon’s defense and the Spartans hockey program is one that dates back over 15 years ago when Brandon participated in hall-of-fame netminder, Ryan Miller’s Spartan Buddies Program and quickly became a fixture within the 2007 National Championship team. Sadly Brandon lost his battle with cancer in February of 2009, but it’s events like these that help keep his legacy alive and raise awareness for childhood cancer.
“He was an avid hockey fan,” Julie Gordon said. “Hockey was the love of his life and when he found out he could no longer play hockey, he immediately started looking into coaching hockey. It is just amazing that we have that branched out now from hockey to all different sectors to help with our mission to fight childhood cancer.”
To date, Brandon’s Defense has raised over $50,000 with half being donated directly towards children’s cancer research and the other half going towards buying things such as iPads, gas cards, video games, etc. for Lansing area families who have a child diagnosed with cancer.
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