New York Islander's Biggest Fan Fights Cancer and Cheers from Texas

Thursday, December 9, 2021
NY Islanders' biggest fan fights cancer
Even though this hockey super fan had to go hundreds of miles away to receive cancer treatment, he never stopped rooting for his home team, the New York Islanders.Jim O'Brien is a lifelong New York Islanders fan, and he didn't let cancer stop that. Now he's raising awareness for bone marrow donations.

HOUSTON -- Jim OBrien is a lifelong New York Islanders hockey fan. But when he was diagnosed with cancer, suddenly going to see his favorite team play just wasn't an option anymore. "When I got sick and I couldn't go anymore, I would watch every single Islanders game on TV. The Islanders were inspiring to watch," he says.

Jim didn't let his treatment get in the way of his fandom, however. He wore his New York Islanders gear to appointments and even got nurses and doctors in the hospital to help him cheer on his favorite team. "Being a sports fan really is being part of a tribe and being part of something bigger," Jim notes.

After receiving two bone marrow transplants of his own, Jim now raises awareness for bone marrow donation and testing. Many other patients with his condition are not so lucky to find a match, and many people do not know that a simple swab test can help to determine if they are a match and potentially save someone's life. "If I can get one person swabbed, that's a success. It's such a low-risk process with such a high reward," he says.

For more information about bone marrow donation, visit