It's a good story that's getting older by the day.
And as far as Homestead hockey coach and acute myeloid leukemia survivor Tony Navarre is concerned, that's a good thing, as league coaches have again consented to encourage Navarre and his wife, Molly, to hold another Bone Marrow Drive registry in conjunction with this week's league tournament.
Even better as far as Navarre is concerned, the drive is just the first of a two-part cancer awareness process.
The NSC tournament, which is being hosted by Whitefish Bay this season, will cap off Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Ozaukee Ice Center with a trio of games on the Center's two rinks.
The Bay-Nicolet and Shorewood co-op will take on Grafton/Port Washington at 6 p.m., while Homestead will challenge Cedarburg at 8 p.m. In between at 7 p.m. on another rink, college teams from Concordia University and Lawrence University will also play.
The bone marrow drive will be held in conjunction with these events at the Center from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The process involves a cheek swab and a health history form and takes about 5-10 minutes max, Navarre said. All those between the ages of 18 and 44 can take part. Lots of potential donors are needed because only one in about 540 potential bone marrow donors match up with a prospective patient.
All told, the drives the family has been involved with have succeeded in signing up about 150 potential bone marrow donors.
Navarre had a difficult battle with AML four years ago, and the teaching staff and the community rallied around him and his family. The treatments for his cancer were long and arduous but ultimately successful.
They included a bone marrow transplant, the results of which are constantly monitored.
Navarre said he is cancer-free, and aside from what he calls some "minor issues," his health is very good. He said Molly, the busy mother of two (the most recent child was born earlier this past year), is lovingly "on him like hawk" for any changes in his routine or health.
Navarre said after this coming weekend, the focus will be on the second part of this awareness effort, as on Feb. 3, back at Ozaukee, a fundraising Coaches vs. Cancer event will be held to benefit the Relay for Life program. The Homestead and University School teams will play each other as he is keynote to the event.
The evening will honor both Navarre, as well as former USM coach Cal Roadhouse, who is continuing his recovery in his five-year battle with head and neck cancer.
Navarre said both teams have purchased new jerseys in the colors of the respective cancer ribbons for the two diseases. Homestead will be wearing white with orange and USM maroon with purple.
Navarre praised USM coach Jason Woods for his great support for the event.
"All the coaches around here have been great with this kind of thing," he said.
The hockey has also been fun for Navarre this winter as the competitive Highlanders begin the new year with a 6-4-1 overall record, including a thrilling 4-2 Admirals Cup win over area rival WNS Storm on Dec. 30. In that game, the Highlanders had fallen behind, 2-1.
Navarre said the neatest thing came late in the game with the Highlanders nursing a 3-2 advantage, and the Storm pulled their goalie. Furthermore, Homestead was working short-handed due to a penalty so WNS was operating with a six-on-four advantage.
But Navarre said that didn't deter senior Joey Hobbs.
"He absolutely worked his butt off," said Navarre. "He won the battle behind the net and then threw the puck out (in front of the net)."
There, teammate Cole DeStefanis was able to punch home the short-handed clinching score.
"It's just great when a senior like him (Hobbs) works super hard and really steps up," Navarre said.
DeStefanis had scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period.
Brooks Ralph also scored twice for Homestead, while Conner Aguilar and Alex Kneisel provided the offense for the Storm.