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Moffitt patient David Dauman (left) with Lightning alum Brian Bradley (right)

Hockey was David Dauman’s first love.

“I became passionate about hockey as a kid growing up in New York,” said Dauman. “We did not have access to ice rinks, so we played on concrete with roller skates.”

Dauman always dreamed of trading in his roller skates for ice skates, but he wasn’t able to hit the ice until decades later when he took his nephew ice skating. It inspired him to join an adult beginner hockey league in Tampa Bay in 2003.

Dauman was hooked.

“It was the year I became a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, forgoing my love of the New York Rangers,” he said.

Dauman played hockey for about nine years, but when his second child was born, he made the decision to stop playing to spend more time with his family. Before he put his stick down for good, he suffered a back injury during his last game in 2011.

Doctors spotted an abnormality in Dauman’s bloodwork, and he was eventually diagnosed with a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undermined significance (MGUS). When the disease flared up again, he came to Moffitt Cancer Center where he was  diagnosed with stage 2 multiple myeloma.

Dauman knew he had a long road ahead but chose to remain optimistic.

“When I initially found out I had cancer, I was in shock,” he said. “I was first told it was a pre-cancerous diagnosis and it would take decades to turn serious, but nine months later, the cancer was stage 2.”

The disease created lesion-like holes in Dauman’s bones and damaged a disk in his back. He had the disk repaired through a procedure called a kyphoplasty, followed by several weeks of radiation. He also underwent chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants. 

“I felt that my hockey experiences were done for good,” said Dauman. “Fighting cancer gave me focus and perspective that life is finite. I did not want to lose time. I was distracted mentally and felt I had lost memories and quality time with my children.”

Fortunately, Dauman has celebrated many victories since his diagnosis. He is now cancer free and gives back to Moffitt as a volunteer and a member of the Patient and Family Advisory program.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was given an opportunity to go back to a familiar place: the ice. Dauman visited Amalie Arena to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning practice and meet Bolts All-Star Brian Bradley. It gave him hope that could lace up his skates again.

“I envision playing again, or at least going ice skating with my kids one day,” he said.