Support keeps coming for AHU Mite Silver’s Accardo
Leighton Accardo’s story has gone national.
It’s quite possible it is worldwide at this point.
Back in May, the eight-year-old Accardo, who plays for the Arizona Hockey Union Mite Silver team, was diagnosed with cancer and started treatment at the amazing Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Friends, strangers and teammates have raised money in her name. Big-name athletes and celebrities have stopped by to see her. Friends and friends of friends or just people who saw her story have run races in support of her. Multiple fundraisers and tons of social media.
What has all this done?
Besides the money and awareness raised, it’s helped her friends and teammates learn invaluable importance about volunteering. Research shows youth who engage in community service are more responsible with higher self-esteem and resilience and it helps them gain new skills such as leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management and decision making.
Teens who volunteer even perform better at school. Accardo’s diagnosis has created a positive ripple effect. Not only do her friends, family and teammates want to help her but they also want to help the people that helped her.
Stephanie Wilson, a close friend of the Accardo family, whose son Cameron is Leighton’s hockey teammate, and daughter Kate, who is a figure skating buddy of Leighton’s, is an all-around awesome person and organized a fundraiser to help families that have extended stays at PCH.
These families have access to a “family room,” which allows them to grab a snack or meal or a fresh T-shirt, with all costs absorbed by the hospital at zero cost to the families. This can be a huge relief from buying breakfast, lunch and dinner at the cafeteria every day. Leighton’s family and AHU Mite Silver team, along with other AHU players, gave back to the people that are helping Leighton.
“This whole Leighton situation has been humbling,” said Stephanie Wilson. “It’s something all of our kids had to experience at such a young age. They’ve been amazing teammates and friends by visiting, bringing her gifts, sending pics and videos. We wanted to do something to give back to PCH. They’ve taken such amazing care of her. We’ve gotten a ton of support from people dropping things off and even out of town friends and family sending money to buy more.
“We also want to thank Bob Platt and the crew at AZ Ice Gilbert for letting us store items and use the rink for our drop-off location. They’ve been super supportive as Leighton’s home rink for both hockey and figure skating. I know all the kids – not just our team – love Leighton and this is the kind of thing that shows people who our kids are. They’re not just little athletes. They’re amazing little people.”
Recently, Accardo has been back on the ice and the baseball field but in a very limited capacity. She still has a tough road ahead of her so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers and thank you to everyone at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for taking such amazing care of our little Knight!
Last week, Leighton dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Coyotes game as Arizona captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson switched spots with her as she came to center ice for the faceoff with Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano. Video of that has gone viral as well.
— Sean Phillips
(Nov. 22, 2019)