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by Allan Bristowe

February 19, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars are inviting a big group of VIPs to the rink on Saturday night as they play their first game at the newly renovated Kin 1 arena.

Any child who has been treated for any disease at B.C. Children’s Hospital is invited to take part in the fifth annual Jameson Jones cancer fundraiser as the Cougars host the BC Major Midget League leading Okanagan Rockets.

Jameson is a childhood brain cancer survivor and has had a special bond with the Cougars ever since the team visited him when he was in hospital in Vancouver five years ago. For the past four years the team has raised money in his name by collecting donations at the gate for one game a year.

Jameson’s father Doug has seen how his son’s connection with the team, through meeting the players and participating in ceremonial faceoffs, has been important and this year they want to expand the event to any child in northern B.C. who has had occasion to visit B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“I see how special it is for him and I thinking, there are a bunch of other kids that haven’t had that experience so we thought if we can expand it and have as many kids as possible from Prince George and this area, then it’s his joy times 10 or 20 or how many kids we get,” Doug said.

This year’s event is raising money to help the family of Olivia Langdon-Davies who is currently receiving cancer treatment in Vancouver. Olivia, now in Grade 7, is a former student of Cougars head coach Bryan MacLean.

MacLean said he got to know her well last year when he taught her and is wishing Olivia the best as her treatment progresses.

“[As a teacher] you’re with them everyday, all day so you get to know them on a pretty personal level and you build a lot of relationships and they all teach you as a teacher in different ways,” he said. “She’s a quiet, confident kid who works really hard and she’s going to work really hard to beat it.”

The Cougars invited Doug Jones to practice on Tuesday to give him the chance to share Jameson’s experience with the current players. MacLean said “you could hear a pin drop” in the room as the players listened attentively and grasped the challenges Jameson has faced and overcome.

“When you look around the dressing room and at the rink, we’re the lucky ones, we’re the ones that get to have all the fun and there are a lot of people out there who go through a lot of different stuff and we like to be able to give back to those people,” he said.

Jameson’s now in great health after having to through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, two brain surgeries and a taxing dose of radiation treatment.

“He’s such a cool, kind, very polite, enthusiastic little kid, that when you look at him you’d never know he’s been through so much,” he said.

Families of children who wish to take part can RSVP with Jones at djones@ckpg.comor showing up at Kin 1 by 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. The game scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to bring a monetary donation when they come to the game.