“Hockey has Heart” raises money to bring arts to children in local hospitals

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A charity hockey game on Sunday helped a non-profit provide a special program for children in the hospital. The skaters on the ice played for more than bragging rights, their efforts went beyond the rink to help Project Imagine.

“These gentlemen that are playing today really do have the biggest hearts,” said Diane Mifsud — Executive Director for Project Imagine.

Every hit, slap-shot and penalty is all part of the action during the second annual “Hockey Has Heart” — a charity game supporting the non-profit bringing arts to children in local hospitals.

“We bring in musicians, artists, and give the children an opportunity to express themselves through their creativity,” Mifsud said.

The program aims to enhance their lives while battling cancer or other long-term illnesses. It helped offer Junaisy Vairgas a distraction. The 12-year-old sang the national anthem before the puck drop.

“it would just take the mind off of the chemotherapy,” Vairgus said.

Vairgas is a cancer survivor who enjoyed the crafts during her two years in the hospital. We asked her how important that was for her.

” Very important because I missed my family and then I missed being at home doing my own type of projects and things like that,” Vairgas said.

“Giving children the opportunity to express themselves creatively is incredibly important and proven to relieve anxiety and stress that sometimes is associated with long-term hospital stays,” Mifsud said.

The non-profit served more than 1,000 children last year and funds from this event will help continue the mission. The non-profit estimates the event raised roughly $20,000.

“That is going to enable us to bring in several more artists for this year,” Mifsud said.

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