'Gino! Gino!' Canucks fans will rally for ailing Odjick outside VGH at 1 p.m. on Sunday
Vancouver Canucks fans are rallying around beloved enforcer Gino Odjick as he battles terminal heart disease, organizing a flash mob and rally to show their support.
In April, Odjick was diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, a rare heart condition in which a protein, produced in the bone marrow, forms deposits in the heart. The 43-year-old has been told he may have months, or even just weeks, to live.
In a letter to fans posted on the Canucks website Thursday evening, Odjick revealed that he was in for the “biggest fight of my life.”
Odjick said he feels fortunate to have played in some great NHL cities, including Vancouver, where he played for eight years.
“In my heart, I will always be a Canuck and I have always had a special relationship here with the fans. Your ‘Gino, Gino’ cheers were my favourite. I wish I could hear them again. You have been amazing,” he wrote.
Odjick’s fans have taken to Facebook to try to make that wish come true.
A flash mob is being organized for 1 p.m. on Sunday, during which fans will gather outside Vancouver General Hospital and revive the “Gino, Gino” chant to show their support for Odjick.
“Let’s show him the love! CHANTING GINO, GINO, GINO! Invite everyone you know!” the Facebook page states.
A rally has also been organized for July 13 at 11 a.m. outside the hospital. Fans are invited to wear their Canucks gear and chant Odjick’s name.
“Everyone in Canucks jerseys outside his window chanting his name in his final fight will warm his heart,” the organizer wrote on Facebook. “He gave to the city and it’s time for Canucks fans to give something priceless back to him.”
Vancouver Coastal Health, which runs Vancouver General Hospital, is aware of the planned rallies. Spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo said the health authority has simply asked Odjick’s fans not to block any of the hospital entrances.
“It’s outside the hospital, so we don’t have any control over that,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo added that there is another way to show support for Odjick: make a donation to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Go to the online donation page, target cardiac care for your donation and identify Gino Odjick as the person your tribute gift will honour.
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