A guy who puts in a lot of ice time for the Chicago Blackhawks has a soft spot for families who put in a lot of hospital time.
“This is such a shock that we were chosen and that they are helping our family in such a wonderful way and giving us this beautiful opportunity to come here and we can’t believe this is all happening,” said Kate Martens. The Martens family is from Chicago, but they're having the time of their lives in South Bend this week.
On Monday, the Martens family posed in front of the ‘Play Like a Champion’ sign in the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.
Later, as they sat in the front row watching the Blackhawks practice at the Compton Family Ice Arena, it appeared to be just what the doctor ordered for the two parents and four siblings of 2-year-old Harriet Martens.
“She had some heart issues immediately that we had to take care of from a surgical standpoint, so she had open-heart surgery,” said dad Matt Martens said.
“She's had lots of different surgeries. Heart surgery, she has brain issues, kidney disorder, lots of things, so we are constantly in the hospital,” said Kate Martens.
The Martens have spent so much time in the hospital and in Ronald McDonald houses that the family caught the attention of “Keith Relief.”
Keith Relief is a charitable organization supported by Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith that is dedicated to alleviating the financial and emotional burdens of families suffering from medical crisis.
Keith Relief and Bridgestone teamed up to provide the Martens with $20,000 for unpaid medical expenses and tickets to the Bridgestone Winter Classic to be played at Notre Dame Stadium on New Year’s Day.
“This is such a shock that we were chosen and that they are helping our family in such a wonderful way and giving us this beautiful opportunity to come here, and we can’t believe this is all happening,” said Kate Martens. “It is such a blessing and we feel so humbled by it, helping out our family in a wonderful way.”