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10-30-2009, 12:27 PM
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A touching story...

Laperriere carries Dad's spirit years after cancer battle
Philadelphia Flyers right wing Ian Laperriere saw his teammates gather with their fathers for a group photo following a recent game and felt his heart ache.

The Flyers conducted their annual Father-Son road trip to Washington this week, and although more than six years have passed since his father lost his valiant battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 55, Laperriere still feels his loss.

"It was hard when he passed and it's still hard today," the 35-year-old Laperriere said. "I still wish he could be here."

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and with the NHL's "Hockey Fights Cancer" campaign under way, Laperriere often reminds his teammates how fortunate they are to have their fathers.

"I tell the young guys, 'Enjoy, I wish I could do that with my dad now.' When you're young you don't think you're ever going to lose your dad. So I tell them to enjoy him because you never now what can happen."

A former football and hockey player, Michel Laperriere was 52 and enjoying dinner with Ian and his wife, Magali, when Ian first noticed his father's skin was discolored.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Laperriere said. "We were in my house having dinner and I turned around and said, 'Dad, your skin's yellow.' My Mom said, 'I told you, Michel.'"

Michel Laperriere met with a specialist two days later and was told he might have cancer of the pancreas.

"That shocked everybody, but as a doctor you just can't sugar-coat it," Laperriere said. "Unfortunately, the doctor was right. It was one of those moments you don't wish on anybody, but it's part of life, I guess. You always think that happens to other families and you don't want to think it can happen to you."
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