Seattle Kraken fan helps identify NHL staffer’s melanoma
Nadia Popovici, a 22-year-old who has plans to attend medical school in the fall, noticed the strange mole on Brian Hamilton’s neck and urged him to get it…
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Nadia Popovici is not a doctor yet but has already helped save someone’s life with her medical knowledge.
On Oct. 23, 2021, the Seattle Kraken fan noticed a suspicious mole on the back of Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Brian “Red” Hamilton’s neck while at the Kraken vs. Canucks game. She waited until people started to leave before getting his attention. She put her phone to the glass so that he could see the message she wrote: “The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!”
Hamilton admitted that he initially disregarded the message. However, he had his wife look at the mole the next day to get her opinion and she encouraged him to go to the doctor. The team’s doctor agreed with Popovici’s suspicions and removed some of the mole for a biopsy. The biopsy results came back as situ two malignant melanoma. This means that the cancer was on the surface of the skin but hadn’t spread. The doctor told him that had he left it alone he only had about five years before it became really dangerous. After the results came back he had the rest of it removed.
Hamilton reached out through the Canucks’ Twitter account to identify who had helped him. On Jan. 1, 2022, Popovici’s mother saw the post when it was shared on a Kraken fan’s Facebook page, and told her what was going on.
Popovici credits her time volunteering at hospitals as the reason she was able to identify the melanoma.
Hamilton got a chance to thank her at the game on Saturday. They met prior to the game’s face off, and discussed what had happened. Popovici passed on her thanks to Hamilton’s wife for convincing him to get the mole looked at.
Hamilton said in a press conference that “she extended my life.”
“I’ve got a wonderful family. I’ve got a wonderful daughter. She saved my life. She didn’t take me out of a burning car, but she took me out of a slow fire.”
Both the Kraken and the Cancucks showed their appreciation for Popovici by awarding her a $10,000 scholarship for medical school.
According to the American Cancer Society, two ways to check yourself for skin cancer are the ABCDE and the Ugly Duckling rule. For the ABCDE rule, A stands for asymmetry, B stands for border, C stands for color, D stands for diameter, and E stands for evolving.
If you have a mole that’s weird in one or more of these areas, for example, it’s multiple colors or it has a jagged-looking border, it’s worth getting it checked out. The Ugly Duckling rule refers to any mole that looks different from all the other ones that you have.