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Shea Theodore starts fund for breast cancer detection

Early detection might have saved Shea Theodore’s life when a failed drug test at the World Championships in May 2019 led to a testicular cancer diagnosis.

On Thursday, the Golden Knights defenseman took another step in support of that cause.

Theodore, in partnership with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, created a new fund for Susan G. Komen Nevada called “Kay’s Power Play.” It’s named after his grandmother, Kay Darlington, who died in June from cancer.

The fund already has $50,000 after donations from Theodore and the cancer center.

“(I’m) just really trying to help everybody and anybody that I can,” Theodore said. “I think this is going to help a lot of people.”

“Kay’s Power Play” will focus on making mammograms more accessible to women in need. Its goal is to provide money to the uninsured, the underinsured or patients under 40 who might not have mammograms covered by insurance.

Theodore said he originally wanted to provide help for men and testicular cancer, but his grandmother’s death changed his mind. The money already in the fund is enough to pay the raw price (without insurance) of about 130 to 165 mammograms, according to Sherry Alexis, development manager of Susan G. Komen Nevada.

Those looking to access the fund can go to komennevada.org or call 702-822-2324.

“It will help people that are at-risk, come from a family where multiple members of the family have had breast cancer, they’re younger than the screening age, and they’re concerned,” Alexis said. “We don’t want that to be a barrier.”

Dr. Rupesh Parikh, a member of Comprehensive’s medical oncology team that helped with Darlington’s treatment, said he’s seeing more cases in women under 40. He also said Nevada ranks below the national average for cancer screening.

“Kay’s Power Play is going to help us and be a vital resource of funds to get these mammograms and screenings done,” Parikh said.

The fund also will be a way for Theodore to honor his grandmother, who took part in a ceremonial puck drop during the Knights’ “Hockey Fights Cancer” night last Nov. 21. It was an emotional game for Theodore, who was the team’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” ambassador after his diagnosis and subsequent surgery allowed him to take the ice again.

“I know she’d be proud,” Theodore said. “I sent my parents the lowdown on what we were doing, and my dad was very proud and said she would be ‘tickled pink.’”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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