10-year-old cancer survivor becomes honorary member of the New York Rangers

Ten-year-old Sonya Luvis never imagined she’d get a chance to ice skate with hockey legends — she’s just happy to be alive.

The young cancer survivor was celebrated for her inspiring fighting spirit on Tuesday when she was presented with an honorary jersey from the New York Rangers at the local Ronald McDonald House’s 30th annual Skate With the Greats event.

But it wasn’t always smooth skating.

Former NY Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist presented Sonya Luvis with an honorary jersey from the team at the Ronald McDonald House New York’s 30th annual Skate with the Greats event Tuesday. Aristide Economopoulos
Before the ceremony, the young cancer survivor skated on the ice with hockey legends including Ranger Colton Orr. Aristide Economopoulos

The grade-schooler was first diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer, in August 2021, after her mother, Maria, 34, and father, Marlon, 34, noticed a tennis ball-size lump on her stomach.

She was 7 years old and had the biggest tumor of its type that doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had ever treated.

But the first piece of heartbreaking news that Sonya remembers is realizing she would have to shave her long curly locks when she started her first round of chemotherapy.

It was her first haircut ever.

The grade-schooler was first diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer, in August 2021, after her mother Maria, 34, and father, Marlon, 34, noticed a tennis ball-sized lump on her stomach.

Courtsy of the Luvis Family

“I was really, really devastated,” Sonya told The Post. “I was like, ‘Mom, I don’t want my hair to fall out. Will it grow tomorrow?’ But I just accepted it with patience and I said to myself, ‘This is going to take a long time so I should just wait it out until time’s ready.’”

As her hair slowly grew back, Sonya decided to have fun with it by dyeing her hair crazy colors going from neon pink to bright blue. But in May 2023, doctors shared more distressing news — her cancer had returned.

The doctors in Philadelphia told her parents they’d done all they could for Sonya, but the Luvis family was determined to save their daughter.

Sonya Luvis smiling with a friend at the Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street. Courtsy of the Luvis Family

Further research led Maria and Marlon to cutting-edge treatments being offered at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan — but the cost of treatment and relocation to NYC was overwhelming.

That’s when doctors at MSK connected them with the team at the Ronald McDonald House, who provided the Luvis family with everything from the best pediatric oncology teams to housing — without ever sending them a bill.

“If I hadn’t been introduced to the Ronald McDonald House, or if people who donate hadn’t made it possible, I don’t know where my daughter would be right now,” Maria told The Post.

After a difficult three-year journey, Sonya was again cancer-free on Oct. 18, 2023.

Sonya was 7 years old when she was diagnosed, and had the biggest tumor of its type that doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had ever treated. After a difficult three-year journey, Sonya was declared cancer-free on Oct. 18, 2023. Aristide Economopoulos

To celebrate her resilience and good health, Sonya was chosen to become an honorary member of the Rangers at the annual Skate With the Greats event this week.

“This event has always held a special place with our organization,” Rangers legend No. 9 Adam Graves told The Post.

The fund-raiser event was started by the late NY Rangers Hall of Famer No. 7 Rod Gilbert to support and promote the RMH on East 73rd Street — the event this year raised about $700,000.

To celebrate her resilience and good health, Sonya was chosen to become an honorary member of the Rangers at the annual Skate With the Greats event this week. Aristide Economopoulos
The annual Skate with the Greats fund-raiser event was started by the late NY Rangers Hall of Famer No. 7 Rod Gilbert to support and promote the RMH on East 73rd Street — the event this year raised about $700,000. Aristide Economopoulos

“I was jumping up and down, like, ‘Yay, I finally get to tell my story,’” Sonya said, sharing how happy she was to learn she would become an honorary teammate.

Sonya said that after years of going through intense cancer treatments, she enjoys sharing her story with others in the hopes that she can encourage them to stay positive and patient when times get tough.

As the Rangers say, there’s “no quit in New York.”

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