PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In this season of thanks, it’s good to remember how quickly life can change.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, Kevin Kenny was playing the kind of tough hockey game he loves.

In just seconds, after a normal play on Pittsburgh Vengeance home ice, the 20-year-old forward was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital’s trauma center with a paralyzing injury to his spinal cord.

“As the mom of a hockey player your heart stops because it could be your son on the ice,” said Renee Heininger, of the Kevin Kenny Fund.

Since his injury, Kenny has had two major surgeries and pneumonia.

The team’s website is keeping his friends and fans up on his progress. The latest posts – the breathing tube is gone, he can speak in a whisper and is improving.

“Everything seems to be progressing forward as it should,” said Heininger. “A long road, but we’ll be there for them.”

Heininger’s billet son, Brennan, is one of Kenny’s teammates. Her son, Mason, plays for the Steel City Ice Renegades.

She is heading up the Kevin Kenny Fund, and with others, rallying in the hockey community. They’ve printed, t-shirts, hoodies, wristbands and caps – all to help with growing medical bills for No. 7.

“Never in a million years did we ever think it would be where we are today. We started the GoFundMe, and we’re now almost up to $35,000,” said Heininger.

There’s a spaghetti dinner this Saturday in Sharpsburg at the John Paul Center. They’re hoping for 1,000 people.

Also, get well cards for Kenny are coming in from all over the country.

The Penguins are doing their part for a fellow player, recently raising nearly $19,000 from a 50-50 raffle during a game against the New York Islanders, and they’ve delivered a signed jersey to Kenny in the ICU.

Kenny will likely be thought of as Grace is said around many tables this Thanksgiving.

“I think we’ve all taken a step back and just realized how important life is; and sometime the things that we overreact to, we’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff,” says Heininger.

To make a donation to help Kevin Kenny, visit the GoFundMe website here.

More Penguins News
More Reports by Mary Robb Jackson

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

Watch & Listen LIVE