CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Nicholas Reeves is a cancer survivor.
He’s also a teenager.
And a hockey player.
He didn’t let leukemia slow him down when he was five years old or change his lifestyle. He’s been cancer-free for two years and chemotherapy-free for eight.
He doesn’t want to be treated differently, but he is willing to share his story with others. The 16-year-old Summerside native did it during Relay for Life events at Three Oaks Senior High School and in the community of Summerside.
“I am proud of it and like to share my story for maybe anyone who is going through a similar thing,” Reeves said.
He’s also been asked to speak at an event at St. FX University in Antigonish, N.S. When he gets his chance to speak with captive audience, his message is to embrace the support of friends and family and continue to do the things you did before the diagnosis.
“Try to stay as normal as possible and keep living the lifestyle you want to live,” he said.
Reeves did just that when he received the news.
He was an active kid who loved hockey and still does. He kept playing throughout his treatments. He admitted it was a little hard, but worth it.
“It was a pretty big obstacle for me and my family, but my friends and family stuck with me throughout the whole process and I continued to play hockey and all the sports I did, went to school . . . and did everything as normal as I could,” he said. “It was a way to keep everything normal and a way to maybe get away from the thought of having cancer.”
He was pronounced cancer-free two summers ago.
Tonight, he will pull on the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride jersey in Kensington for Game 1 of the Prince Edward Island major midget hockey final. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
“I’d love to win the playoffs this year,” said Reeves, who noted he was lucky to play on strong Summerside teams that won back-to-back provincial championship teams in peewee and another in bantam. “I am hoping that we end the year very successfully and on a high note.”
Pride head coach Luke Beck said Reeves has been a pleasure to coach.
“Obviously, Nick went through a lot as a young kid, and the character we see on a day-to-day basis probably allowed for him to persevere through a really tough time,” he said.
Reeves has had a good season with the Pride, scoring nine goals and setting up 12 more for 21 points in 32 games, third on the team behind linemates Connor McGregor and Kennedy Gallant.
“He’s a hard-working kid. He’s really smart in both zones and is really reliable on the defensive side of the puck,” Beck said. “He’s a high-character kid that’s been a really, really good addition for our group since September.”
Reeves knows many of the guys on the Wild and goes to school with some of them. He said hockey comes up the odd time but is mostly left at the rink. He is excited he made the decision to play for the Pride and meet his new teammates and friends.
“I grew up playing against all these guys. It’s fun,” he said. “We’re excited to get things going in Kensington this week.”