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Hockey official battling lung cancer honored at charity hockey game

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Dave Rue

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — A charity hockey game was held this morning for a local hockey official battling lung cancer. Dave Rue has been a mentor for young hockey players and a high school referee for 10 years. He’s been forced to stop working to focus on treatment, but the hockey world is giving him some much needed support.

Hockey has been a part of Dave Rue’s life since he was just three years old. After being diagnosed with lung cancer in July, he’s been forced to put the game on hold.

“I was diagnosed in July of this year with that life threatening disease,” said Dave Rue. “I’ve had to make some major changes in my business world, financial world and my family. Many people came back here today to support me and my battle to beat this.”

A charity hockey game was held at Southside Ice Arena in Byron Center Friday morning with a goal of raising awareness and collecting donations for Rue’s cancer fight.

“It will help with medical expenses and helping with him his business,” said Paul Madden, organizer of his fundraising page. “He can’t run his business. Having been through cancer two years ago I know what he’s been going through and I know the stress that comes with that. I want to help him where I can.”

“It is priceless, absolutely priceless,” said Rue. “It’s overwhelming. I can’t believe all of the people that have taken the time and went out of their way. It’s huge. The fundraising and financial part of it and just supporting you as a person and realizing this disease does not discriminate. It picks the old, the new, the young, the thriving, you just never know.”

Friends and family are hoping to raise $30,000 for Rue. There’s a Go Fund Me page as well as game-worn Grand Rapids Griffins jerseys being auctioned off on eBay.

“We have nine jerseys that were worn by the Griffins in warm ups and then autographed,” said Madden. “We have players like Dylan Larkin, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, some big names that we’re auctioning.”

Rue says he is touched by the support from his community.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who came out to support this function,” said Rue. “It means the world to me and to my family. It’s tough and overwhelming to realize that it’s a reality and you’re in this situation and that you need family and friends to support you and care for you and love you. I would never get through this horrific battle without the strength of my family and friends.”

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