It has been an unbelievable February for the Lypko family.
It has been unbelievably difficult after they learned on Feb. 1 that mom, Leanne, had cancer in her spine and lung.
And it has been an “unbelievable” uplifting as the hockey community is rallying around them to help.
The Lypko’s son Jordan, plays with the Petrolia Oiler Bantam Reps with Nick Salaris’ son. He has known for a couple of weeks that something was wrong with his friend.
“We went from seeing her one week at the arena , seeing her the following Friday coming to the arena with a cane, to seeing her the next week with in a wheelchair,” says Salaris. Then came the horrible news of Leanne’s cancer. This week, Leanne started radiation treatment.
Any cancer diagnosis is tough, but Salaris was particularly moved by the Lypko’s plight.
The family, he says, are “salt of the earth” who never ask for help even though life isn’t always easy. Leanne’s husband, Adam, has a chronic hip condition and is waiting for his third transplant. He’s not able to drive. And he hasn’t been able to watch his sons play hockey for a while now.
So Leanne would go to the rink and Salaris says like every minor hockey team, the Lypkos who moved to Petrolia less than a decade ago, became part of the hockey family.
“I call it the hockey family. We’re together six months a year, together three or four nights a week… we get to know these kids get to see them from when they were six or seven until when they’re in high school…and that family becomes your support network.”
So when Salaris heard of Leanne’s cancer, he got to work. He heard about an internet fundraising program called GoFundMe and set up a page hoping to raise $5,000 for the family’s expenses but he set the goal hirer at $10,000. “The simple fact is that the prognosis is not good,” Salaris wrote. “The awful news about Leanne is also coupled with the fact that Adam has not been able to work or drive for past number of years due to a crippling and degenerative hip condition. Understandably, this is a heavy burden for the family.”
In 10 hours, the goal was reached.
By press time, over $27,000 had been raised to help cover the family’s extra expenses and a new goal had been set – $50,000.
“I’m surprised but I’m not because in this town when people are in need, they rally around people to help,” says Salaris noting help has come from every corner including Wyoming Ball where Jordan and his brother Eric play, and even the Bantam Reps friendly rival Mooretown Flags.
“I’m shocked that our little hockey team could go out and make $20,000 in two days … but I’m not surprised because this town has a tradition of helping and caring for people in need.”
Adam Lypko is more than surprised. He calls not only the fundraising effort but also the offers to bring meals to the family and to clean the house while Leanne undergoes treatment are simply “unbelievable.
“My two brothers and sister in law came in from out of town and they can’t believe the response the community has given,” he tells The Independent.
Adam says the news has been particularly difficult for Jordan and Eric but the family is making through with the help of their family and their hockey family.
“Coming from a town like Hamilton being bigger – this is more of a family kind of place,” he says. “It’s more of an extended family…It is unbelievable. I can’t believe the outpouring of help were having
“It’s what it should be like for everyone…if we had this sort of thing across Canada we could help families more and more.”
You can find the fundraising campaign called For Leanne at https://www.gofundme.com/52m7beak