2015 Arch Awards: St. Louis Community MVPs

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Dec 15, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

Due to a variety of personal experiences that hit close to home, Pietrangelo has stepped forward as a face for the Blues’ promotion of the “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative.

His close childhood friend, Cosmo, died of cancer when Pietrangelo was 10 and Cosmo was 11, so the defenseman has always kept the cause close to his heart. In 2011, he began communicating with Seth Lange, a teenaged cancer patient, after he and goalie Brian Elliott heard of Lange’s Christmas wish to deliver smiles to all the other patients at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Pietrangelo and Elliott helped Seth and his family in facilitating a toy drive and passing out the toys to children at the hospital.

Pietrangelo paid frequent visits to the hospital and tried to make life a bit more normal for Seth. Though all of the Blues showed support for Seth, Pietrangelo and Elliott in particular went the extra mile, sacrificing their free time to cheer Seth up, play video games with him, and meet with him when he was healthy enough to attend games. Pietrangelo also participated in “Be the Match” promotional efforts to try to find an able bone marrow donor for Lange, a leukemia patient.

Next: 2015 Arch Awards: Best St. Louis Team Nominees

In 2014, Pietrangelo’s five-year-old niece, Ellie, was  Pietrangelo shaved his head to provide support for Ellie, who was going through chemotherapy treatments, but on a bigger level it provided awareness to Ellie’s cause and raised a substantial amount to help offset her treatment expenses.