Kathy L. Wills

Dear Mr. Domi:

I am writing to you concerning my 16 year old son, Spencer.

Spencer has been a Leafs fan since he was a little kid. His grand-father, my Dad, was a Leafs fan for at least my entire life that I can remember. I often joke that my Dad brain-washed Spencer from a very young age.

My Mom and I were planning to buy tickets to a Leafs game in Toronto for Spencer and my Dad for Christmas this year. We were hoping to plan a trip for sometime in February, near Spencer’s birthday which is Feb.17th. We have put any plans for this on-hold at the moment. Spencer’s dream is to see a live Leafs game at the Air Canada Centre. In time, we will make plans again.

In August of this year, my Dad became ill and we took him to the hospital as he was experiencing some chest pain. He had had a couple of heart attacks a few years back so we were concerned. After a couple days of running tests, on August 21st, he was diagnosed with brain cancer and they also found tumors in his chest, lung a liver. On August 21st his prognosis was 4-6 months – sadly, he passed away 13 days later, on September 3rd.

The sudden illness and death of my Dad has had a devastating affect on my son. They had become very close over the last few years. I was very proud of Spencer during the short time my Dad was in the hospital before he passed. Spencer took care of him, giving him juice, holding his hand and, of course, talking about the Leafs. Even though Dad was confused at times, he and Spencer still talked hockey right up until the end. Spencer was with him when he passed and as hard as that was, it is something Spencer will always have with him.

Dad was cremated and at his memorial service, displayed around the urn holding his ashes were pictures of him in his Leaf cooking gear (hat and apron); one of him wrapped in his Leaf blanket; and his favorite Leafs hat, covered with Leaf lapel pins. Everyone who knew Dad knew how much he loved the Leafs!

Dad had said a long time ago that when he passed on, Spencer should be given all of his Leaf memorabilia – and he had a lot of it! Shortly after Dad passed away, my Mom packed Dad’s Leafs things and gave them to Spencer. Until just recently, he had been unable to unpack that box. About 3 weeks ago, he finally put up the new shelf we had bought for his room and unpacked Dad’s things and now has them proudly displayed in his room.

Spencer and I now spend quite a few Saturday nights in front of the TV watching you (as his favourite player!) and the Leafs play. Instead of calling “Papa” everytime the Leafs score like he used to, now, we “high-five” each other. When the Leafs win, we talk about how happy Papa would be and when they lose, we talk about the teasing he would take the next day from his friends at his Church.

Spencer has some wonderful memories of his grand-father and he’s very grateful to have them. His greatest memory though is certainly the talk of hockey and especially their beloved Leafs.

The purpose in my letter is to let you know that even though you have no idea, you and the Leafs have played a very big role in bringing a great kid and his grand-father very close together, sharing a real bond in the love of the Leafs. For that I am truly grateful to you and your organization.

Thank you.

Kathy L. Wills