FRASER, Mich. – With his family walking behind him, 16-year-old Anthony Mastronardi was all smiles Sunday as he made his way onto the ice.
The Dakota High School junior drew quite a crowd at Fraser Hockeyland for a Red Wings alumni game held in his honor.
"I love seeing everyone supporting me,” Anthony said. “It really is great."
In December, Anthony was injured in the school’s varsity hockey home-opener. The teen was paralyzed from the waist down.
"Anthony has been working very hard each day,” said SarahAnne Mastronardi, Anthony’s mother. “Day by day, he gets stronger. He's determined."
Sunday’s game was a fundraiser for the Mastronardi family, and it served as a way to show Anthony that people care. The turnout was tremendous as the community rallied in support for the Mastronardis.
“The community support has meant a lot to our family throughout this entire ordeal,” SarahAnne Mastronardi said.
The family knows Anthony has a long road ahead, but relatives believe he will defy the odds.
"He has a lot of faith and hard work and determination,” SarahAnne Mastronardi said. “We are hoping for the best.”
Anthony spent the past 3 ½ months at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan. He’s now back home, but still attends therapy every day to work on regaining his strength.