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Grizzlies player supports dad battling cancer

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Utah Grizzlies have a weekend series in Bakersfield, but you will excuse forward DJ Jiletto if his mind isn't completely on hockey right now. He has other things to worry about.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Utah Grizzlies have a weekend series in Bakersfield, but you will excuse forward D.J. Jelitto if his mind isn't completely on hockey right now. He has other things to worry about. His father is battling cancer.

"He was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma stage 4 live cancer. It started in the skin and went to his liver and his bones, and they found it at the latest stage. He's been through a lot of treatments, radiation and chemo."

The Jelitto family held a silent auction at the Grizzlies game last Friday to help raise money for the skyrocketing medical costs.

"When someone is in trouble or any news that someone needs help the whole hockey community finds out about it. Everyone has stepped up in astronomical ways. It's just been really great to see all those faces wanting to help. It's been a blessing for my parents and our family."

D.J. grew up here. He played high school hockey in Utah, then played with the Grizzlies from 2005-2007. He rejoined the team this year, so he could be close to his dad.

"He wants to see me play, but he loves having me home so I thought the Grizzlies would be a perfect fit for that because I was playing in Germany for 4 years and decided to come back and be with my dad during this crucial time. Joining the grizzlies has been a blessing for me as well."

The prognosis is not great, but the Jelitto family is praying for a miracle, and doing their best to help in the day to day fight.

"We’re just taking in a day at a time, and trying to stay positive and give him goals to look forward to in the near future."

Like most father's, Dirk wants D.J. to keep playing. He enjoys watching his son, and D.J. enjoys every second he gets to spend with his dad.

"It’s a lot more special to have him here now, and its just getting that amount of time where he can stay awake and stuff because he gets so tired and lethargic with this cancer so you know, it's nice to play in front of him and talk to him after the games. He's the reason I’m playing right now and he's always been my hero, always will be, so I’m just glad he can be here in the stands watching me."

If you would like to make a personal contribution go to any America First Credit and tell them you'd like to donate to Dirk Jelitto.

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