Barons give young cancer patient reason to smile

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Barons' NHL affiliate team is the Edmonton Oilers.

Last week, a family from Edmonton was in town at a Barons game.

But they didn't travel here just for the game, they came here to save their son's life.

Nearly 3,000 metro students filed into the Cox Convention Center Tuesday for a morning Barons hockey game.

For most, it's a break from learning math.

But for 8-year-old Ali Mustafa, it's a break from fighting cancer.

"It's just wow," Ali's father, Mike, said about the life threatening illness. "You don't think it's going to happen to you."

Mike found out his son had a brain tumor in February when Ali started having headaches and vision problems at their home in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada.

A hospital there recommended he get proton radiation treatments at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City.

Starting in October, Ali had been going there twice a day.

But he needed a break... and he loves hockey.

So ProCure worked with the Barons, who made Ali and his brother the first "Captain's Kids" of the season.

They met Barons Captain Josh Green.

"Just a break from his everyday routine and anything I can do to help is important," Green said.

Ali got his own jersey with his name on the back; something he's never had.

"I think it was really nice," Ali said. "I thought everything was just going to be a normal hockey game."

Ali got to be an 8-year-old kid again.

"Making him an honorary Kid's Captain and stuff like that is pretty cool," his father said. "I think it's something he'll remember for a long time."

ProCure's Vickie Weigel said she hopes this is their lasting memory, not the cancer trips.

"We went to Oklahoma City and we got to go to a hockey game and we got to meet all of these people, and go to the zoo, and go to the science center, and do all of these fun things and, oh yeah, we were there for a cancer treatment," she said smiling.

It was an experience Ali could summarize in one word, "Cool."

Ali's father, Mike, said seeing the Barons in action was great because they can't see hockey in Edmonton now because the NHL is on strike.

ProCure said Ali has good prospects for a normal, healthy life with no side effects from the radiation.

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