The Goalie Guild and the Martha Kennedy Memorial Goalie Scholarship have joined forces in order to provide male and female goalies (ages 8-16) in the USA impacted by the Coronavirus with financial assistance for their league and team fees. This program is in honor of the late Martha Kennedy, a special hockey mom and amazing woman who dedicated her life to her goalie son, Scott Kennedy.
In May of 2020, Dave Kennedy and The Goalie Guild established a partnership in order to grow and support the Martha Kennedy Memorial Goalie Scholarship, in honor of the late Martha Kennedy, a passionate goalie mom who passed away in January of 2018 due to Stage 4 colon cancer. Two months after her passing, Dave decided to honor Martha by setting up the memorial scholarship, which was originally awarded to 10-U goalies.
Please click HERE for scholarship details and application form.
MARTHA KENNEDY’S STORY
Written by Dave Kennedy:
In April 2012, at 49 and a half, Martha went in for her first colonoscopy. When it was over, the doctor called us into his office and gave us the news. She had Stage 4 colon cancer and it had spread to her liver. We both sat in silence as he went over treatments and recommended an oncologist. I’m certain more was said, but that’s all I can remember. Our son Scott was 10 years old at the time.
That night, I looked up Stage 4 colon cancer outcomes and learned that only 8-percent make it past five years. How do you process the knowledge that the woman you love will most likely be gone in less than five years?
As you can imagine, over the next couple of weeks, Martha and I had a lot of discussions about what to do, what to tell Scott, who to talk to, and more. In the end, we decided to live as normally as possible and only tell close family. We also decided to keep it from Scott. He was only 10, and we felt this was not something he needed to know at the time. We both knew it was not a question of ‘if’, rather a question of ‘how long.’
Martha began chemo, which took place every two weeks, shortly thereafter. She’d continue with treatments every two weeks for almost six years and soldiered through it all like a champion. Not once did I hear her complain about the side effects, other than the occasional ‘my stomach is not happy’ comment. When Scott would ask why mom had to wear a pump, which contained her chemo drugs, we just told him that ‘mom was sick’ and that the pump was making her better, but it was going to take a long time.
At some point in 2014, the oncologist needed to change Martha’s chemo, because the current drugs were no longer working. The doctor also let Martha know that she was going to lose her hair, so it was time to have the talk with Scott. He was 12.
Scott took the news as best as could be expected. He also looked up survival rates and we went on with our lives. Martha with her chemo, wearing her Apple hat every day, and continuing to try and be a family was everyone’s new life. At this time, Scott began playing ice hockey, so we’d spend many hours together at the rink watching every practice, every game, every tournament we could, since we had no idea how much time we had left together. It was those hours at the rink that cancer didn’t matter. It didn’t exist. We were just another family watching our son do his best every time he was in net.
Martha also consistently baked cakes, cookies, and treats for her fellow chemo patients. She shared in their loss when one of the group members would pass away. She cared about every one of them.
The last picture I have of Martha is dated January 15, 2018. It’s of her and Scott holding the championship banner from a local tournament. As sick as she was at the time, she had her sister Ellen drive her to the rink so she could watch Scott play. She would pass away the following Sunday.
On January 20, 2018, Scott’s team dedicated their game to Martha. Everyone taped their sticks pink and several players from the University of Northern Colorado came down I-25 to watch Scott play and present him with a Hockey Fights Cancer jersey. The Littleton Hawks hockey association made an exception for Scott, so he was allowed to wear that jersey for the game. On the back of the jersey it said, “I Fight For Martha Kennedy.” Scott was in net and his team won that game. That night Scott showed Martha the jersey, told her about the game (she knew about the dedication/jersey prior to that night and I think she held on specifically for the game) and we all talked for a bit.
As you can imagine, the chemo took its toll on Martha’s liver. It’s what finally failed and caused her to pass away, and on January 21st, I knew that would be her last day.
Scott also had a game that day, so I sat him down and we had a talk. I told him that Martha was going to pass and that it didn’t matter to me if we stayed home to comfort her or if we went to the game. I told him that if he played, that most likely she wouldn’t be there when we came home. He thought about it for some time and decided that Martha would want him to play.
He went over to her, gave her a kiss on the cheek, told her how much he loved her, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Scott played an amazing game that night. His team won and midway through the third period, I got the call that she was gone. After the game, I took Scott to Chipotle and told him the news that no 16-year-old should ever have to hear. His mom was gone.
After her passing, the hockey community was incredible with the amount of support they gave to Scott and me. Everything from food to gift cards to just being there to listen. At the service players and coaches from his local team, his high school team, and several UNC players were all there wearing their jersey to let Scott know he wasn’t alone. There were close to 300 people at her service, so I know she touched a lot of people’s lives.
As for Scott, to this day he continues to honor Martha every time he steps out on the ice. He knows that were she still around that he would not have the opportunity he has now, playing AAA, as there was no way we could have afforded it. He continues to give back to younger goalies when he has the chance. He knows that’s how he was raised, it’s his personality, and it’s what Martha would have wanted.
Cancer affected my family in the worst possible way and the only good that came from it is that I have been given the opportunity to give back to the hockey community. Whether it’s buying a jersey to help a family, donating to a foundation, putting together a scholarship, or buying gear for a goalie whose family can’t afford it.
Martha was an amazing woman and I know it sounds sappy, but she truly was my soulmate. I met her in August of 1993, moved in with her four weeks later, and never looked back. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how much simple things like jersey auctions mean to cancer families, but they mean a great deal. For a brief instant, we feel like we’re not alone and that someone cares.
In March of 2018, Dave decided to honor Martha by setting up the Martha Kennedy Memorial Goalie Scholarship and award it to 10-U goalies. Why 10U, you ask? Great question. In 2017, Scott spent the summer helping the 10U goalies during summer skates and Martha loved the contrast in size between Scott, 6’1”, and 10U goalies some of whom were barely taller than the boards. She loved watching Scott work with them, giving back to hockey, and as before we were just another hockey family. Cancer wasn’t there.
2018 was the first year of the Martha Kennedy Memorial Scholarship which saw six goalies submit applications. Dave awarded all six with scholarships for amounts ranging from $1,000 down to $100. He also bought new leg pads for a 10-U goalie who desperately needed an upgrade.
In 2019, Dave opened the scholarship up to 12U goalies as well. That resulted in nine total applications (seven 12U and two 10U). He awarded one “full-ride” to each age group (10U & 12U) and two additional half-ride scholarships. The “full rides” covered all registration fees, which was roughly $1,650 each, and the ‘half rides’ covered roughly $800 each. In addition to the financial support, he set up a non-winning 10-U goalie with a new pair of skates, as he was wearing skates that were older than him. Another 12-U goalie was still wearing youth-sized gear, so he set her up with a new catch glove, blocker, chest protector, and neck guard. Lastly, he awarded one final 12-U goalie with another playing scholarship in the amount of $1,000.
The Kennedy family looks forward to further expanding the Martha Kennedy Memorial Scholarship in 2020 and for years to come with our partnership with The Goalie Guild. Please see the application below and, if you are able, please consider contributing to the fund via GoFundMe.
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