When Nadia Popovici decided to attend the first-ever home game for the NHL’s Seattle Kraken last year, she did not understand how life-changing that event would be for her and a complete stranger.
Popovici was seated behind the Vancouver Canucks’ bench and, while she thoroughly enjoyed the game, she was also distracted by a mole on the neck of one of the Canucks’ staff members. Unsure what to do, Popovici waited until the end of the game and then went over to where Brian Hamilton was standing. She banged on the glass to get his attention and, when he looked, she held her phone up so that he could see a message that said, “The mole on the back of your neck is cancer.”
Hamilton shrugged and went on with his duties, not giving it much more thought. However, when he got home the next morning, he mentioned the incident to his wife who insisted he get checked out by the team doctor immediately. As it turned out, Nadia was right. Not only was the mole cancerous, but it was stage two malignant melanoma, which, if left undetected, would have been life-threatening.
Hamilton had the mole removed and, because they caught it in time, his doctors told him that he was cancer-free. In January, Hamilton and Popovici met so that he could thank her and present her with some money from the Canucks and the Kraken to help her go to medical school.
How did Nadia Popovici notice this cancerous mole when everyone else in Hamilton’s life missed it? Simply, Nadia was trained to see it.
Nadia wants to be a doctor, so she had spent time volunteering at a cancer ward.
"I saw his [mole] and I was like, wow, that is a picture-perfect example of what a melanoma looks like,'' she said.
Properly trained eyes always see what others miss.
The apostle Paul recognized this need for eyes that see differently when he said, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
May we have eyes that are trained to see our blessings.