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A Father’s Day surprise for Clarenville’s Hunt family

CLARENVILLE, N.L.—As students, parents, teachers, minor hockey players and community members filed into the Eastlink Events Centre (EEC) Wednesday morning, several different people remarked, “be sure to get your tissues ready.”

The event was a public screening of a video, which captured a special event by WestJet and Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), when they presented a Father’s Day surprise for the Hunt family of Clarenville.

Last year, 12-year-old Darian Hunt was diagnosed with leukemia.

The Hunt family is currently in Toronto where Darian is undergoing treatment. His dad, Troy, is Darian’s stem cell donor.

After the initial diagnosis, Darian and his parents Troy and Neda, spent 134 nights at Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s, in addition to lodging in Toronto since March of this year.

Since the family went to Toronto, Darian’s younger sister Kaiya remained in Clarenville with her grandparents.

WestJet and RMHC wanted to reunite the Hunt family by sending Kaiya, in addition to members of Darian’s peewee hockey team to Toronto to surprise them.

Last week, RMHC and WestJet organized the surprise, and released the emotional video detailing the journey online this morning.

The Hunt family and the Clarenville peewee Caribous hockey team were able to play some ball hockey, play video games, have a meal together and catch up.

Lee Wiseman speaking about the trip to surprise the Hunt family.

Also at the event on Wednesday at the EEC, were Christine Morgan of RMHC, Clarenville Middle School principal Glen Moulton, Susan Dean, Lee Wiseman and Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell.

Wiseman is the manager for Darian’s peewee hockey team, who was one of the people who helped organize the surprise to see the Hunt family.

She says it was an amazing experience.

“It allowed for a little bit of normal for a family that, for the last few months, have had anything but,” she said.

From left to right: Lee Wiseman, Glen Moulton, Christine Morgan and Frazer Russell.

They also played a short video with Troy thanking everyone who made the surprise possible and thanking everyone back home for all the community support and fundraising.

The videos concluded with resounding applause by those in attendance.

In the video, Neda stressed how much the trip meant to them.

“I’ll never forget this,” she said.

Twitter: @jejparsons

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