I’m pretty sure that most Sheffield Steelers fans have heard Amy Usher’s name mentioned before. Some might know her personally, or have read her story online. You might have seen photos of her with the Steelers players, beautiful and always-smiling.
But there’s probably a lot of people who don’t realise how amazing and strong she is, and they might not know is how much of an impact she’s had on the hockey community.
21-year-old Amy was diagnosed last year with a rare, incurable form of cancer, Liposarcoma. Instead of bemoaning her lot in life, like some people would do, she has decided to live every one of her days to the fullest. Which isn’t easy when you’re often stuck in a hospital receiving radiotherapy treatment. Since watching the Steelers play for the first time, she has become a huge fan of the team, and is considered a part of the organisation.
When her older sister, Beth, chose to run a 10k race to raise money for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity – the hospital that are treating Amy – word soon began to spread through the UK hockey community. Donations have been flying in over the last few weeks, from players, sponsors and fans alike. Steelers sponsors, Purpose Media, have even offered to donate extra money for every goal that the Steelers score in the 2014 season.
It’s overwhelming how much support me and Beth have got from the whole hockey community, it seems crazy that a few months ago we were just fans watching games, as I was receiving chemotherapy at the beginning of the year and going to games was something positive and fun for me and my sister to do, and focus on. We never expected that they would become friends to us, and such important people in our lives. What’s amazing is that I thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the Steelers, and that would’ve been more than enough, but they’ve all just carried on being supportive and unbelievably kind to us and are really helping us through what could be a completely negative time!
But it’s not just the money – although obviously the £3,500 and counting that has already been raised is pretty impressive – it’s also about a common cause that is bringing together fans from teams across the country. A quick look at the donation list on Beth’s JustGiving page shows comments from Panthers, Stingrays and Clan fans, amongst others. Even if it’s just for a short period, the UK ice hockey family is banding together.
Despite all the attention – they’ve been written about in several local newspapers, and barely a day goes by without seeing Amy’s name on my Twitter feed (which makes me smile every single time) – Amy is still just a young girl trying to have fun.
Its strange really because now when people ask what I would like to do, it’s actually pretty normal stuff, like I love the theatre, so I want to see as many shows in London as I can! I’d love to go in a hot air balloon too! Nothing too adventurous as all I really want to do is spend time with my family and friends (and of course can’t wait for hockey season!)
Beth’s run is on Sunday 13th July, but it’s not too late to donate. Her JustGiving page is simple to use, but even if you can’t donate, please help by spreading the word. Weston Park needs a huge amount of money to keep going and the donations can help Amy and her sister have some extra time together that they deserve.
Thank you to Amy for the photos and quotes on this article. And thank you to both Amy and Beth for being an inspiration ♥