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Moorhead hockey mom puts cancer treatment on hold to attend state tournament

Hundreds of Moorhead Spuds hockey fans are already in St. Paul for the Thursday, March 9, state tournament game against Hill-Murray.

For one Spud hockey mom, this trip is one entry on her life's to-do list.

Vicky Westra has been living with a brutal stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis for the last six years.

For most Spuds hockey players, this is a memorable time in their lives. For Nolan Westra, it's a life-changing event.

"Yeah, it is unbelievable," he said.

Because his mom will be there to see him skate in the big show.

"I don't think I have ever seen anyone as spirited and determined as her," Nolan said.

Vicky Westra and her family have lived and breathed Moorhead Spud hockey since her kids wore squirt jerseys. It has been their life.

"They have grown up watching it and been a part of it," she said. "All they wanted to be was a Moorhead Spud."

Vicky was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

"I went from curable to incurable," she said. "Before, it was, 'You can beat this thing,' and now it is like, 'You have to learn how to live with this thing.' "

She said watching her sons Nolan and Colton play hockey has helped in her six-year battle.

"There is something about the rink, for me. I walk in the doors and it all melts away, the whole world, it is all about, I can smell the ice and it draws me in," Vicky said.

She has a blog that has inspired the thousands who have read it. It offers frank, personal life discussions.

"If I can touch one person and lighten their load a little bit, it is so worth it," she said.

Vicky has been on continuous chemo treatment for six years. She received the green light from her doctor to take a few days off from yet another chemo treatment so she could watch the Spuds at the state tournament.

"I want to be there for all their milestones, as many as I can," she said.

"I want to see it, hear it, be there for it, as fully as I can."

Vicky said she would have been nervous putting this on a bucket list.

"The fact that I get to go ...nothing surpasses that," she said.

Most may sit back and say it's just a game. Not for Vicky.

"There are everyday moments, I wouldn't trade those for anything," she said. "And then there is the icing on the cake. That is what this is for us."

"Sometimes we can't extend our time, but expand our time and do more in the moments we have now," Vicky said, "and if we live fully each day, I think when it comes to this, I will have lived as fully as I could, and you can't beat that."

The Spuds play at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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