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NHL fan receives $10K scholarship after alerting Canucks employee to melanoma

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- An NHL fan received a $10,000 scholarship for medical school after alerting a Vancouver Canucks employee to a melanoma on the back of his neck during a game.

Brian "Red" Hamilton, assistant equipment manager for the Canucks, said the team was playing the Seattle Kraken in Seattle on Oct. 23 when a woman knocked on the glass window behind him to get his attention.

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The woman held up her phone with a written message: "The mole on the back of your neck is possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor!"

Hamilton said he took the advice and learned the mole was a malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

The Canucks posted a message on social media ahead of Saturday's game in Seattle in the hopes of identifying the woman.

"The message you showed me on your cell phone will forever be etched into my brain and has made a true life-changing difference for me and my family," Hamilton wrote in the message.

"Your instincts were right and that mole on the back of my neck was a malignant melanoma, and thanks to your persistence and the quick work of our doctors, it is now gone."

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The message soon received a reply from the mother of the woman, who was finally identified as Nadia Popovici, whose family have season tickets for the Kraken.

Popovici and Hamilton were able to meet face to face at Saturday's game, where Hamilton had a surprise for the 2019 University of Washington graduate: the Canucks and the Kraken had teamed up to present her with a $10,000 medical school scholarship.

Popovici, who said her time volunteering in oncology wards gave her the knowledge to recognize the Hamilton's melanoma, said she already has been accepted to several schools.

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