The Chicago Wolves professional hockey team rolled out the red carpet on Sunday for Saint Viator High School senior Tim Gruensfelder, before the entire team congratulated him on the ice.
The occasion? Tim was awarded the Tim Breslin Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes a high school senior who has overcome great adversity. It was created in 2006 to honor the legacy of the former Wolves player, who died at the age of 37 of appendiceal cancer.
“It’s the only scholarship we offer,” said Courtney Mahoney, senior vice president of operations for the Wolves. “We think it is a tremendous way to honor Tim and his family — and to be able to give back and positively affect someone’s life.”
Tim was one of 300 applicants for the Wolves award. He learned of his selection after he received another prestigious honor, the Presidential Scholarship from St. Louis University, which covers his tuition expenses for four years.
Besides his excellent academic record and extracurricular activities, Tim described in his essays of overcoming a diagnosis of cancer at age 4, which has moved from his brain to his spine.
“I’ve had 13 surgeries,” Tim says, “mostly to remove tumors on my spine.”
The cancer in his spine resulted in his move to a wheelchair when he was in fifth grade, but it hasn’t held him back. At St. Louis, he plans to major in accounting and entrepreneurship with the hopes of one day owning his own company.
Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, has been his counselor for four years and marvels at all of his achievements.
“We’re really proud of this young man,” Br. Rob says simply.