A 16-year-old high school hockey player in St. Paul, Minnesota, died on Christmas Day after first suffering a stroke on Dec. 6.
Cormick James Scanlan had moyamoya, a blood-vessel disorder predominantly affecting children, making them more likely to have a stroke, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
“We went from a Monday practice where he was sitting on the players’ bench,” Scanlan’s coach, Derek Weinke, told KMSP-TV. “I just said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ His leg was bothering him.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the rare, progressive cerebrovascular condition is caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain.
The disease could be treated in various ways, such as medications that help reduce the likelihood of stroke, and revascularization surgeries that attempt to restore regular blood flow in narrowed blood vessels or bypass them.
Scanlan underwent emergency surgery on Dec. 15.
“We kind of thought, ‘Hey, now we know what it is, they’re going to do this procedure and he’s going to battle back,’” Weinke said, according to the New York Post.
“We don’t know what it’s going to look like on the other side, but it’s Cormick, he’s going to battle through this, and then things took a turn and then it got worse.”
Scanlan suffered additional strokes that affected more parts of his brain, and he died on Christmas Day.
“Cormick James passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his parents and Grammy T. There is something beautiful about him starting his heavenly journey on Christmas. We are thankful for the time Mick granted family and friends to visit one last time,” Scanlan’s family wrote in his obituary on CaringBridge.
“Maybe the Christmas miracle was the support our community has continuously shown our family. It has been astounding. Words cannot express how much joy Cormick brought his family. We are heartbroken,” the obituary stated.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mick, yet our faith makes us confident that he is in the loving arms of Jesus. As a community, we stand alongside his family and friends as we all mourn the loss of this bright young man who has impacted so many,” said Frank Miley, president of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, where Scanlan was a student.
The school’s athletic director, Matt Funk, described Scanlan as “hard-working,” a “fierce competitor,” and an “outstanding teammate,” according to the Post.
“He led by example and modeled our Culture Creates Champions motto in everything he did. His impact was felt through our entire school community, and he will be greatly missed,” Funk said.
The St. Paul Capitals Hockey Association published a tribute in honor of Scanlan on its website.
“The Capitals mourn the loss of Cormick Scanlan. Cormick was a Capitals player from his time as a mini-mite through his past two seasons on our Bantam AA team,” the tribute said.
A GoFundMe set up in Scanlan’s honor to help his family pay for medical and funeral expenses had raised nearly all of its $25,000 goal by Wednesday morning.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.