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RILEY’S FIGHT

A young man’s fearless and selfless cancer battle is an inspiration to all whose lives he has touched

Riley Kane poses with his good friend, Caleb Schroeder, who is holding the sign he created to show support for his buddy. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)
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THE HEART OF A LION

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Tera and Jeff Kane give Riley a final pep talk moments before he is to hit the ice as the Wild’s honorary flag bearer for the Nov. 2, 2021 game versus the Ottawa Senators. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Financial support from the community has also been critical to a family which has had to juggle work schedules, and miss work altogether, to ensure Riley received the lifesaving, but expensive, treatment he required. Multiple fundraisers have been conducted on the Kane family’s behalf, including a silent auction at the Rogers Hockey Association’s annual golf tournament in which a group of dads collaborated to bid on and win a signed Wild jersey.

“He’s going to need care for the rest of his life for the radiation,” Tera said. “It’s so rough that we’ll be monitoring him the rest of his life to make sure that that doesn’t cause a secondary cancer and that his kidney function is adequate.”

The jersey, by the way, was then given to a teammate of Riley’s who had recently lost his father to cancer.

Tera and Jeff get emotional when recounting Riley’s story of courage amid all he has confronted in his young life and their faces beam with pride as they talk about their son’s amazing attitude and all they’ve learned from him in the last year.

“He’s never asked why, he’s never felt sorry for himself,” Tera said. When the chemo is really bad, he has been known to yell F cancer, but he’s the one that has kept everyone around him positive.

“He just says that God’s going to take care of him and he knows that everyone’s praying for him and that he’s going to be okay.”

The Kanes say even on Riley’s worst days, he’s never lost his sense of humor but, more remarkably, he is always more concerned about everyone else.

“He’ll say things like, ‘I’m sorry, this is stressful for you,’” Tera said. “Whenever he’s in the hospital, he wants to call home and talk to his brother and make sure he’s having a good day.

“I think he’s really showing us that it’s all about perspective, it can always be worse, we do the best with what we have and are thankful for the good days.”

Through it all, despite the devastating diagnosis, the Kanes say they never lost hope and, in fact, they even recognized a few positives along the way.

“They caught it in time and they were able to treat it,” Tera said. “He has the non-aggressive type and we were fortunate that the Mayo Clinic has two of the best specialists in the country for this. So even though it’s a terrible diagnosis, there’s so many little blessings in it that I never felt like we weren’t going to beat it.”

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Minnesota Hockey Magazine Executive Editor Brian Halverson is a former member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. His work has been published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Miami Herald, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Hartford Courant, Dallas Morning News and ESPN.com.

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