When the Washington Capitals' Lars Eller scored the winning goal in double overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets last month, the loudest cheers came not from D.C., but from Minnesota. That's where lifelong superfan Amanda Wilson was watching the game, clad in a Caps jersey signed by some of her favorite NHL players. "She was ecstatic," Adrian Wilson, Amanda's husband, says.
Amanda, Adrian and their two youngest children, Ian, 3, and Emery, 8 months, had relocated from their Virginia home just weeks before so Amanda could begin treatment for a rare cancer, leiomyosarcoma of the inferior vena cava. Research and advice from vascular surgeons had all pointed to one place — and one person — for treatment: Thomas Bower, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Which is why the Wilsons were far from their beloved Capitals — who the couple have cheered on in person together close to a hundred times — during playoffs.
During the game, Amanda was wearing a jersey sent to her by a college acquaintance who knew her devotion to the team. On the back of the jersey is #AMANDASTRONG and the No. 20. That's the number Amanda wore in high school as she helped lead her team to a state soccer championship. (It's also Eller's number, which made that game-winning goal even sweeter.) Amanda has worn the jersey for every playoff game since, reports The Washington Post, including game 3 of the conference finals, which she and Adrian attended between her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and game 7, which put the Caps in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years. (There's that number again.) Read the rest of Amanda's story.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.