PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s a day Lily Tarasiewicz will never forget. Though she lives in South Carolina, her idol is Penguins legend Mario Lemieux.
The Make-a-Wish and Mario Lemieux Foundations teamed up to bring her to Pittsburgh with her parents and brother, to live a dream: to skate with her idol.
The teen from South Carolina and Hall of Famer have a common bond. They have both survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“He’s an inspiration to us as a family,” says Lily’s mother, Melissa Tarasiewicz. “When he had it, he could have stopped. He could have laid down and said, ‘Hey, this is it for me.’ But he didn’t. He kept going. He overcame it, and he’s cancer free. Same with with Lily. When she got it, she said, ‘Mom, I’m going to beat this.'”
Lily inherits her passion for the Penguins from her father, who grew up at the other end of Pennsylvania.
“Actually grew up in Philadelphia, yes,” James Tarasiewicz laughs. “As a Penguins fan!”
Lily says she’s been cancer free for nine months.
As for her new friend, Mario Lemieux, “It’s very inspiring, because he’s 20-something years out. And I know that one day I’m going to be 20 years cancer free.”