Olivia is excited about her first hockey game at Huntsville Havoc!

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville Havoc Hockey Organization raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities each season. They do this by wearing special jerseys during the year. When the players take to the ice on January 15andthey will wear a different uniform for St. Jude’s night.

No one is more excited about the game than 7-year-old Olivia Noland of Muscle Shoals. “I’m super excited,” she told me as she sat on the Havoc bench at VBC Propst Arena. She designed the wolf which is on the front of the jerseys this year.

“I just like to draw pictures,” she told me, looking at her artwork on the front of a game jersey, “I tried my best.” The shirts also bear the names of patients and staff at the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Huntsville Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

“Found,” Olivia said excitedly. Her mother Kristy smiled and said, “Right there in the middle.” Olivia’s name is also on the shirt. In June 2020, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.

“It’s a little hard to hear because it was totally out of the blue, but Huntsville admitted us that night and put us in an ambulance in a few days to Memphis,” her mother told me. Olivia spent the next four months undergoing treatment at the St. Jude campus in Memphis, Tennessee.

They returned home and now visit St. Jude Clinic in Huntsville weekly. Olivia will do chemo treatments for 120 weeks. She just finished issue 60. “We’re halfway through her interview-type therapy, so she’s considered in remission,” Kristy Noland told me. She continued, “They put us in the affiliate and we’ll do the two years of chemo and then they’ll follow her through the St. Jude program for several years to just make sure everything continues to test as normal but so far we have good reports.

Like some hockey players, Olivia is a fighter. “She really just took it in stride. I mean, they caught her early and she responded right away to the treatment they started, so we were very lucky that it all happened so quickly,” Kristy said.

Olivia drew the wolf during one of her visits to the Huntsville clinic last October. She had no idea he would be selected to be this year’s jersey front for St. Jude Night with the Havoc. “That’s cool,” she said with a big smile. What’s even cooler is seeing the happiness it brings to a St. Jude kid.

Havoc players will auction off their shirts Saturday night after the game, January 15and. Money raised will help children battling cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Catherine J. Martinez