BOSTON — It was one of those moments that seemed meant to be. Bruins forward Chris Wagner scores his first goal of the season on "Hockey Fights Cancer" Night at TD Garden. Tuesday night was also a night when one of Wagner's high school friends was beginning his fight against a rare form of cancer.
"One of my buddies, Tom Budreau, got diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, last week," Wagner said. "So we're trying to raise money for him."
"We missed the game last night because I was in my second round of treatment," Budreau said.
Boston 25 News caught up with Tom and his new wife, Kristin, at the Dana-Farber In-Patient Hospital at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he learned just last week a cancerous tumor was growing on his spine.
"I thought that I had a completely unrelated sports injury," he said.
A reasonable conclusion; Tom works out regularly and played football in high school and college. But the pain in his back only worsened.
"There were points [where] I was staying home from work," he said. "And waking up and saying, 'I can't do anything,' completely debilitating."
Ewing's Sarcoma is treatable, but it's aggressive. So doctors are moving fast with a six-month course of chemotherapy and radiation to hopefully shrink Tom's tumor.
"We took a few days to digest the news," said Kristin Budreau. "A couple of days of just being really angry and sad and frustrated. And we kind of got to work Monday once he started getting his chemo treatment, and we said we're just going to fight this."
What's helping them in the fight: support from family and friends, like Chris Wagner.
"Chris followed up after the game and told me the whole story, and it was pretty amazing," said Tom and Kristin. "We couldn't fall asleep after that, we were so excited. We were ready to go to bed and we saw that."
A tribute Tom never saw coming and one he will never forget.
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