BOSTON (CBS) – She’s a huge Bruins fan, and a 10-year-old cancer patient with what’s called a ‘radiation’ mask, painted to look a lot like the one goalie Tuukka Rask wears. That mask is part of the plan to make sure she’s cured. And her Tuukka enthusiasm is part of the plan for the Bruins win the Stanley Cup.
Fourth grader Ava Girolimetti hopes she’s near the end of her long battle with leukemia, just as the Bruins are at the end of their fight for the Stanley Cup.
Ava has cheered the team on, and definitely has a favorite. “Since she became a fan at a very young age, she has just gravitated to Tuukka Rask,” Ava’s father Marc Girolimetti said.
“I think he’s awesome,” Ava said.
Leukemia’s been Ava’s harsh companion for three years. Doctors thought they had it licked last year, but it roared back to life. New, cutting edge treatment seemed to wipe it out, but they want to make sure.
“Ava is about to begin radiation treatment prior to a bone marrow transplant,” Marc said.
For the radiation that will be beamed into Ava’s head, staff at Brigham and Women’s and Dana Farber created a radiation mask to hold her head steady and target the radiation. They asked her if she wanted a custom paint job on the mask.
“She grabbed my phone. She did a Google image search and then showed me a picture of Tuukka’s mask and said, I want the Tuukka,” her father explained.
And that’s what she got. “It was really cool,” Ava told us.
Ava says Tuukka’s mask is fierce and scary, and that’s what she wanted. “Because I’m fierce and scary,” she said with a smile and a giggle.
And Rask and the Bruins have been doing a lot of winning. “Ava has done a tremendous amount of winning over the past three years and we are so close to the end. So at some point this year we get to raise our own Stanley Cup and celebrate a victory,” Marc said.
Ava will be watching Game 7, but she’s feeling a little nervous. “Because my dad’s going to the game with my uncle and every time my uncle goes, they lose,” she said. Ava hopes her father’s good vibes offset her uncle’s.