February 20, 2012
Cause deeply personal to Tanguay
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
Every time Alex Tanguay makes a beautiful passing play that ends in a goal, he’s not just helping his team on the ice.
Whenever Tanguay records an assist this season, he’s working towards finding a way a family can successfully battle the ravages of stomach cancer.
The slick left-winger is often criticized for not shooting enough, but assists are important to him.
For every helper he records, Tanguay can feel good about another $200 he donates for cancer research.
About a dozen Calgary Flames players are involved in charities around the community, and most get interested in helping out causes because of personal experience.
Stomach cancer really hit home with the Tanguay family.
In January 2010, Tanguay’s wife Helene was informed that her mother had the disease. She died in June 2010.
Nobody could blame Tanguay for a tough year with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Helene was pregnant with the couple’s second child through the whole ordeal, giving birth to a son just a couple of months before her mother passed.
“It was a tough deal for her and her family and for myself, as well,” Tanguay said.“You never want to see someone you love go away this fast.
“I’m sure we’re not the only family that has gone through this type of story before.”
Even if Tanguay falls short in the assists department, he will make a minimum donation of $10,000 this season.
The Flames Foundation for Life will match that contribution, and Tanguay has found a company, KPMG, to further match his contribution.
The main problem with stomach cancer is how tough it is to detect.
Given the symptoms are bad gas and causing flu-like problems, the ailment can often be disregarded until it has spread.
By then, it’s too late to successfully fight off the cancer.
“Stomach cancer is one of the deadliest cancers there is,” Tanguay said.
“We found out there isn’t much research being done in North America.
“It’s more in Asia. We’re finding ways to donate a bit more. It’s something we’re dedicated to.
“We’re hoping there are better ways to diagnose it and find treatments.
“We hope there are families that go through it that have a better chance of surviving it.
“You wish you can do a lot more. If we all do a little bit, then we’ll all get there. I wish I could do more things to get involved.
“There are a lot of people who feel helpless in this situation. You can only do so much.
“Every day, I hope those specialists and researchers get some help to find a solution.”
Alex and Helene are expecting their third child now, but Tanguay is thankful his son was born before his mother-in-law passed away.
The newborn was at least a small beacon of happiness in an otherwise sad time in their lives.
“We’re fortunate enough that she had time to meet him,” Tanguay said.
“My wife felt great she was able to show the first grandson to her. That was a good time.”
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby