The North Bay Ice Boltz Girls Hockey Association is rallying behind one of its coaches.
Emma Shimizu was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the spring at only 19 years old.
Shimizu, who moved to North Bay to attend Nipissing University in the fall of 2021, coached the U11 A Ice Boltz team with her friend Ruby Pilazke, who also moved to North Bay to attend university for the first time in the fall of 2021.
"We were both in our first year of university at Nipissing and we lived in the same residence, on the same floor and we kicked it off from there," recalls Ruby about Emma, who is from Ottawa.
"We had a lot of the same interests including hockey. We are very much into helping others and doing our part to help the community so we thought what better way than to coach a hockey team."
Their friendship grew throughout the year, both on and off the ice, so when Ruby found out about the diagnosis, she figured Emma needed help.
Ruby, with help from the Ice Boltz association where Emma had been hoping to coach the U13 A Ice Boltz team this fall, created a fundraiser to help with the costs that come with fighting this battle. That includes new Emma Strong T-shirts which can be purchased online to help offset her medical costs.
Ruby says Emma is still receiving chemotherapy this summer and she is also part of a clinical trial. She believes the support from the community is helping Emma fight this battle.
"Emma is just so overwhelmed by all the love she has been receiving," said Ruby, who shaved her head in support of Emma.
"I talk to her every day on the phone she doesn't believe how many people have reached out. It makes me happy she does not feel that she is alone in this fight and she sees that not only the Ice Boltz community but all of North Bay supporting her in the fight for her life really.
"Her spirits are so high, Emma is really optimistic and she is going into this fight thinking she will beat cancer. The mindset is such a huge component."
Anyone can purchase a T-Shirt online through Level 1 Custom.
Supporters can choose one of the following designs:
- Emma Strong
- It’s Bigger than Hockey, Emma Strong
- Nipissing Athletics, Emma Strong
All three designs have a meaning in Emma’s life and are available in both purple and grey. Just use this link HERE