In December 2015, Jason Zucker met his biggest fan, a 9-year- old boy named Tucker Helstrom. In many ways, Tucker was just like other kids his age. Active, fierce, and full of compassion, Tucker loved playing sports with his friends almost as much as he loved watching Minnesota Wild games.
In other ways, however, Tucker’s journey was quite different. In the fall of 2015, Tucker was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Almost immediately, he began treatment at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, undergoing everything from chemotherapy, lung surgeries, and the amputation of his leg.
It was there that Tucker met his favorite Wild player - Jason Zucker. Tucker gave Jason a “Team Tucker Go!” t-shirt, the name of the crowdfunding page his mother opened to help tackle Tucker’s medical bills. On the back of the t-shirt was Zucker’s name, but with the “Z” crossed out and replaced with a “T.”
That visit turned into several visits and before long a lasting friendship was formed between the Helstrom family, Jason, his fiancée, Carly Aplin and their daughter Sophia. Tucker and Jason would meet up to play NHL ’15 on Xbox, talk hockey, and hold playdates with Tucker’s sisters.
Sadly, on the morning of July 2, 2016, Tucker’s battle with cancer came to an end. Though Zucker's time with Tucker was short, the lessons they learned from Tucker's family about friendship, strength and the power of positivity will stay with them forever.
Help the Zucker family celebrate Tucker's life by making a gift to benefit "Team Tucker's Locker" within the new Kyle Rudolph End Zone at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. The Kyle Rudolph End Zone will be designed to help children and teenagers find a place to relax, engage in healing therapies, or play video games. The End Zone will be staffed by Child Family Life specialists trained in helping patients and families navigate the emotional, mental and physical demands during their stay at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.