MOUNT VERNON — Today is Damion Boyd’s ninth birthday. A second-grader at Twin Oak Elementary School, Damion has been looking forward to his birthday but another exciting day in looming in the future.
On Feb. 24, Damion will be walking down the runway alongside his new heroes, the Columbus Blue Jackets, in the Blue Jackets Black Tie Style Show.
Damion was recently nominated as a “Hero” by the Children’s Hematology Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he has been treated for cancer for more than three years.
As a participant in the Black Tie Style Show, Damion will take “Center Ice” at Nationwide Arena with his new Blue Jackets friends as they model the latest fashions in a style show to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer. Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation’s local Hats For Heroes program and related cancer research initiatives.
Damion was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007, when Dr. Hornstein directed him to visit Children’s Hospital after discovering a serious blood problem. After numerous treatments at Children’s, Damion’s leukemia is now in remission.
“I feel a whole lot better,” he said with a smile.
Although his chemotherapy treatments are over, and the chemo port is removed, he is still required to have monthly blood work to chart his remission.
Now that his battle with leukemia is over, it’s happier days at home with his parents, Barry and Connie Boyd.
“I like it. It’s finally gone,” said Damion triumphantly. He also loves playing with his Jack Russell Terrier, Luke, and is proud to show off his pet goldfish.
In addition to the upcoming style show, there have been other side perks which Damion has already enjoyed. He was able to attend the Blue Jackets’ Hockey Fights Cancer game recently, and the red carpet was rolled out for him and the other “heroes” that night.
“I’m happy — I’m honored. There’s lots of things I got to do that a lot of other people don’t get to do,” said Damion.
As he was allowed to take one friend to the game, he chose his grandpa to be with him, sitting in the “glass seats.” He was given a game puck as well as a ride on the Zamboni. In addition, they were treated to a photo session with Blue Jackets players, where Damion had his picture taken with Rick Nash — one of his favorite players. The other is Antoine Vermette.
At a children’s hospital Christmas Party, Damion played video games with the Blue Jackets’ mascot, Stinger, and received a Blue Jackets cap autographed by all the team players.
“I know them all pretty close,” beamed Damion.
He admitted he really didn’t watch hockey until he was introduced to his Blue Jacket buddies. But now he never misses a game when the Blue Jackets are on television.
As the group of “Heroes” was also invited to a Buckeye-Thon, Damion went dressed as E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University. Damion looked smashing for the scheduled photo shoot, all decked out in glasses and a big bow tie.
In 2009, Damion was able to take a trip to Disney World through the Make A Wish Foundation.
“That was so much fun,” said Damion.