An ice hockey fan who saved the life of Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian Hamilton during an NHL game has been awarded a $10,000 (£7,416) medical scholarship.
Nadia Popovici was watching the Canucks’ game against the Seattle Kraken back in October when she spotted a mole on the neck of Hamilton.
Popovici managed to warn the Canucks staff member by typing a message on her phone and pressing it against the plexiglass surrounding the ice.
“The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous,” the 22-year old fan wrote. “Please go see a doctor!”
Following the advice, Hamilton sought a medical diagnosis on the mole and discovered it was cancerous.
Now, Hamilton has thanked the aspiring medical student for coming to his rescue.
“She saved my life,” he 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.”
Speaking to the Seattle Times, Popovici revealed she had volunteered at hospitals “surrounded with a lot of melanomas.” Therefore, when she saw the diameter and “irregular border” of the mole on Hamilton, she knew she had to act instantly.
Initially, Hamilton had been unable to thank Popovici as he didn’t know her name but managed to track her down after launching an appeal on social media.
Popovici responded to the appeal and the pair met face to face at the Canucks’ NHL game on Saturday.
“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,” she told Hamilton.
The Canucks sit second bottom in the Pacific Division of the NHL currently.
Since joining the league in 1970, the team has advanced to the Stanley Cup finals on three occasions –– losing to the New York Islanders in 1982, the New York Rangers in 1994 and the Boston Bruins in 2011.