Blackhawks help make lifelong fan's wish come true

Blackhawks help make lifelong fan's wish come true
February 13, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Frank Allegretti just wanted to be part of the crowd one more time.

The 54-year-old Chicago native was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about five months ago, and he’s now a patient at Advocate Hospice. A lifelong Blackhawks fan since the days of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, Allegretti had one wish: to see the Blackhawks, in person, one last time.

On Tuesday night, that wish was granted.

Hospice Dreams and the Blackhawks teamed up to give Allegretti his night at the United Center, as he and his family watched the Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks from Section 105 on Tuesday night. It was a wonderful night for Allegretti, who understandably hasn’t gotten out much since his hospitalization.

“It’s just nice getting out and having a good time,” said a beaming Allegretti, who was also accompanied by his nurse at Advocate. “And that’s why I’m here.”

Hospice Dreams, a non-profit organization that’s been around for about five years now, helps grant wishes for “any hospice patient of any provider,” said Kaitlyn Henderson, Hospice Dreams’ communication manager. Past wishes granted include Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher visiting with a patient at Bears camp and another Skyping with Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.

“It’s things people want to do one more time, a lot of sporting events for life-long fans, vow renewal ceremonies, or golfing one more time. It’s really interesting what the dreams are for adults,” Henderson said. “A lot grant dreams for kids, which is wonderful. But adults, when they’ve lived an entire and have so many experiences, it’s really interesting to see what they choose as their dream.”

Allegretti had gone to a few Blackhawks games in the past, “when I had the extra cash,” but it had been a few years. So another trip to the United Center was at the top of his list.

“They donated tickets and they’ve really been helpful,” said Henderson. “When you’re a fan of an organization like the Blackhawks, to be recognized as a special fan is just the pinnacle of your entire life in sports.”

The Blackhawks lost to the Ducks in a shootout on Tuesday. Allegretti was originally slated to meet several Blackhawks after the game but wasn’t feeling well and had to curtail the evening. The fan part of Allegretti may have been disappointed with that. But just to see the Blackhawks again, in person, meant everything.

“My sister got me out. She wanted me to get out, and I said ‘Let’s go.’ So here I am,” Allegretti said. “I’m just happy to be here.”