After Flyers practice Monday in Voorhees, Johnny Van Kemp walked around the locker room and met many of the players, including James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Brian Elliott, Jake Voracek, Travis Sanheim, and Joel Farabee.
“You’re his age,” cracked Voracek, pointing to 19-year-old Farabee.
Actually, Van Kemp, who lives with his family in North Carolina but calls the Flyers his favorite team, is just 15 and has been through a long ordeal that recently took a turn for the best.
“Johnny’s been battling leukemia for seven years, and after two attempts at beating it, we opted for the best hospital on the planet, and that’s Children’s Hospital” of Philadelphia,
said John Van Kemp, Johnny’s dad.
The elder Van Kemp noted how his son is known as JVK and van Riemsdyk is called JVR.
“We first met him when he was in Toronto, and he was super nice to us,” Van Kemp said.
Johnny made small talk with the players as Zack Hill, the Flyers’ public-relations director, introduced him to them. The players offered words of encouragement.
“To be here is amazing,” Johnny said. “This experience is insane.”
The best news of all: His leukemia is in remission.