With their son in a 2-year fight against a rare form of cancer, a Hastings family finally has something to celebrate. It's not a cure, but hopefully, a winning raffle ticket might just change their luck.
Josh Wagner is just 22 and he thought he beat his cancer once only to have it show up again in his lungs months later -- Wagner had 5 tumors removed from his right lung.
"It was pretty bad. Very painful because now with every breath, it hurts," he said.
On Friday, he was working on his breathing as he wages a second battle against Ewing's Sarcoma, rare cancer that develops in teens and young adults.
"You kinda go, ‘Why is this happening again?'" Wagner questioned.
Wagner and his family have been on a roller coaster since the initial diagnosis 2 years ago.
"You never think a young 20-year-old would have cancer," his mother Apryl Wagner said.
Wagner has had chemotherapy and radiation treatments and he's also had 9 cancerous inches of his femur removed and replaced with cadaver bone. All the while, he has been working on his degree at UW-River Falls.
"He has such a positive outlook. Never complains. He always says he's glad it's him because he can handle it rather than anyone else," Apryl Wagner said.
With that fierce, winning attitude, the Wagners were due a little something to cheer about – and they got it last week at the Xcel Energy Center where the Minnesota Wild took on the Buffalo Sabres.
While up in the stands, Wagner's parents were winning the 50-50 community raffle on the eve of their son's lung surgery. They'd leave the arena with $3,000 to help in their son's cancer fight.
"We jumped up in our chairs, just ecstatic, we never win anything," Apryl Wagner said.
Raffle sponsor Defending the Blue line, a non-profit group to provide hockey gear for military families was proud to give the Wagner family such a special gift.
"If it was rigged though, this is the way I'd do it every single time," Shane Hudella with Defending the Blue Line said.
Apryl Wagner is a 17-year member of the Minnesota Air National Guard, and served recently in Iraq.
"To have a family like this, to give them an extra gift at a tough time is absolutely perfect," Hudella said.
"I don't want it all for me. They won. Something for them would be nice," Wagner said of his parents.
Next, his medical team is studying those cancerous tumors that were removed from his right lung to lay out a treatment plan. He has several other tumors that will likely need to be removed from his left lung.