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Hockey Fan Spots Cancerous Mole on Manager’s Neck

Nadia Popovici kept shifting her eyes from the hockey game to the back of Brian Hamilton’s neck. Mr. Hamilton, an assistant equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks, had a small mole there. It was irregularly shaped and red-brown in color — possible characteristics of skin cancer. Nadia had served at hospitals as a nursing assistant.

“I need to tell him,” Nadia told her parents at the NHL game in Seattle. So, she typed a message on her cell phone and waited for the game to end. After waving several times, she finally drew Mr. Hamilton’s attention, and placed her phone against the plexiglass. Her message read: “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!” with the words “mole,” “cancer” and “doctor” colored bright red.

Hamilton said he looked at the message, rubbed the back of his neck and kept walking, thinking, “Well, that’s weird.” Nadia said she regretted the message and thought at the time, “Maybe that was inappropriate of me to bring up.”

After the game, Hamilton talked to his doctor, had it removed, and had a biopsy. Nadia was correct. It was type-2 malignant melanoma, and she had just saved his life. Hamilton said, “She took me out of a slow fire, and the words out of the doctor’s mouth were if I ignored that for four to five years, I wouldn’t be here.”

Then Hamilton tried to find his “hero” by posting a message on the team’s Twitter that said: “To this woman I am trying to find, you changed my life, and now I want to find you to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! Problem is, I don’t know who you are or where you are from.” Three hours later they found Nadia. After Hamilton expressed his gratitude, the team gave her a sweet gift—a $10,000 scholarship to use for medical school expenses.

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