Dropping the Puck: My love affair with hockey, and my battle with breast cancer.

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Pink in the Rink

I AM! My name is Kelli Konopczyk and I’m a Stage IV breast cancer thriver and Texas Stars fan. My family and I are very excited to represent the BCRC and Austin hockey at the Texas Stars Pink in the Rink game on February 21st at the Cedar Park Center!

Without the support of the BCRC and all the incredible people I have met through this organization, the past three and a half years would have been unbearable for my family and me. My journey has included battling cancer along side my big sister, Kim, having to say goodbye to her last year, and then having a recurrence myself just weeks later. The volunteers and clients of the BCRC have given me strength, courage and hope to keep going through it all. They’ve encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone at Art Bra Austin, and have given me a platform to speak while sharing my family’s story in the media and reaching out to other BRCA positive men and women. More importantly, the BCRC has helped me smile, made me laugh and reminded me to CELEBRATE life!

One way our family likes to celebrate is at the ice rink. Our son, Brennan, plays hockey for the Austin youth league, the Roadrunners. The hockey community is a lot like the breast cancer community; they are a tight knit group and The Pond Hockey Club has become our second home. We spend several days a week there. Like survivor sisters, hockey players are eager to share their experiences with one another and mentor newbies.

The Austin Roadrunners are fortunate and grateful to have the support of Texas Stars Senior Account Executive and Youth & Adult Hockey Coordinator, Amin Elaguizy and Stars players Maxime Fortunus (18), Toby Petersen (19), and Francis Wathier (38), who donate their time each week to help coach the Austin Roadrunners – the future of hockey in Austin! They are shining examples of true sportsman!

While it will certainly be moving to see the Texas Stars don pink game jerseys on February 21st, I am blessed everyday to be able to cheer on my own star player, my son. He proudly wraps his hockey stick in pink tape year round, in memory of his Aunt Kim and in honor of me, his mommy.

Did I mention that February 21st is also my 39th birthday? What better way to celebrate than with my fellow Pink Ribbon Cowgirls, L4 Ladies and Survivor Sisters and Brothers? I’m a lucky girl to have such amazing friends and family and to celebrate another birthday with them.

So please come celebrate with us on Friday, February 21st, and help show support for two amazing organizations: the BCRC and your Texas Stars! Doors open at 6:30 and the game starts at 7:30.

Hope to see you there!

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