For four years, Shaun Vey played hockey just down the hill from the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, never giving the expansive building a second thought.
Thursday, Vey, 26, visited the Cancer Center and took a tour as a cancer survivor.
The former Tri-City Americans forward was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February, and ever since has been an advocate, encouraging men to take note of any changes “down there” and seeking help immediately if they believe there is a problem.
“For me, initially, there was a little bit of embarrassment, or pride,” Vey said. “I didn’t want to talk about this, but when you start diving into it a little deeper, you realize there aren’t enough people talking about it, in my opinion. I wanted to be a voice. It’s OK to talk about it. I’m just a regular guy now with a job and a family, but if I can use the Tri-City Americans to raise awareness and help a few young men out, that would be awesome. That’s my goal.”
The Americans will host the inaugural Shaun Vey Aware Down There Night today when they play the Regina Pats at Toyota Center. Vey, from Warman, Saskatchewan, will be on hand tonight to talk about his experience, as well as partake in fundraising activities. All of the proceeds will go to the Cancer Center Foundation to bolster its information on testicular cancer and other men’s health issues.
“I feel honored to have this opportunity to speak out about a cause I’m so passionate about in a community that I still love very much,” Vey said. “I’m very pleased with how this has all gone. I can’t thank the Tri-City Cancer Center Foundation enough, or the Tri-City Americans enough for this opportunity.”
Elizabeth McLaughlin, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation Director, gave Vey and his wife Robyn a tour of the center, including the library that has information on cancers from A to Z, a resource room where patients have access to wigs, scarves and other accessories, and the impressive CT scan and radiation machines.
Vey was fortunate his cancer was caught early. He needed surgery, but was able to skip radiation and chemotherapy. “I’m very lucky,” Vey said. “Catching it early is key.”
Every three months Vey has a CT scan and blood work done to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. All of his tests have come back 100 percent clean, so far.
Though Vey is in the Tri-Cities to bring awareness to testicular cancer, he also enjoys returning to the Mid-Columbia to visit.
“I spent four years here and two of those we had really good hockey teams,” Vey said. “My wife and I made a lot of good friends here. All good memories in Tri-Cities, for sure.”
Note: Atomic Screen Printing donated 100 Aware Down There T-shirts that will be available for $10. There also will be raffles for gift baskets, Americans’ memorabilia and a Movember-inspired photo booth at tonight’s game. All of the proceeds will go to the Cancer Center Foundation.