In the end, it was a hockey game Elgin Alexander Fraser was not going to miss.
The three year old spent his last hours at home, nestled between family and friends on a mattress on the living room floor in front of the television, watching the Ottawa Senators reach the Stanley Cup finals.
His right lung had collapsed and he breathed loudly, wheezing. When it became too hard to keep his heavy lidded eyes open, because of the morphine, his family whispered the play by plays to him.
“Go if you want to go now, bud,” said his father, Hamish Fraser, to his wee son, who weighed just more than 30 pounds.
But that afternoon, he did hang on, to see his favourite team win, just as the players promised him they would.
Afterwards, his mother, Victoria Fraser, washed him, clipped his nails and dressed him in a grey Senators jogging suit. She then cradled him in her arms for more than an hour.
“Everything that happened just seemed to fall into place and everything felt right at that moment,” said Ms. Fraser.
Elgin died of a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, and had captured the emotions of thousands who raised funds at charity events for him to fight cancer.
“He went peacefully,” said his father, adding that his son loved hockey “more than anything,” and was the Senators’ biggest fan.
“The Senators meant so much to him,” said Mr. Fraser.
On Thursday, Senators’ centre Mike Fisher visited Elgin at the boy’s home in Carleton Place.
They watched a movie and played with toy cars, because Elgin was too weak to pick up his hockey stick.
Mr. Fraser talked to his son on the phone during the visit and asked Elgin to ask Mr. Fisher if the Senators were going to win the Stanley Cup.
“OK, Dad, hold on,” said Elgin over the phone.
“Mike,” said Elgin, “You’re going to win the Stanley Cup, right?”
“We sure are, buddy,” said Mr. Fisher.
“Dad, he said yes,” Elgin told his father.
Yesterday, Mr. Fisher said he was saddened by the news and that he had thought about Elgin before the hockey game on Saturday night.
“The impact he had on me was incredible. With the things he went through and how well he handled them,” said Mr. Fisher. “I was blessed to spend some time with him. He’s in a better place, for sure.”
Elgin met the Senators after his family was introduced to Chris Phillips, a defenceman and father of two, and his wife, Erin Phillips, through mutual friends.
In April, Elgin found himself in a front row seat at a practice as part of one of his final wishes. At the time, Mr. Fisher held Elgin while skating around the ice.
Elgin also got a tour of the dressing room. Since then, Elgin had been to more than eight Senators games, including their final home game against the Buffalo Sabres last Wednesday.
Elgin’s father said his son’s room is littered with Senators paraphernalia from jerseys, to hockey sticks, to goalie masks.
“He loved to tear around and pretend to be players on the team,” Mr. Fraser said.
Elgin was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system, when he was nine months old. He went through a flurry of treatments, radiation, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, and finally went into remission. Bad news came in January, as the cancer returned and growing tumours took over his stomach and vertebrae.
By the end, Elgin’s back was almost a solid mass of tumours, with fluid leaking into his lungs.
His doctors had told his family on Monday that they didn’t expect him to make it through the weekend.
Despite his pain, Elgin still managed to go to the Senators game on Wednesday, along with his mother, father and Alysston, his eight month old sister.
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