Senior captains Katie Carroll and Jane O’Connor headlined the Loyola girls hockey team at Sunday’s “100 Miles for Danny” that raised awareness and money for children afflicted with seizures. 

The Ramblers were one of 20 hockey teams at Lake Forest Academy that skated intervals of five miles each to benefit the Danny Did Foundation, which was created in 2010 after the death of 4-year-old Danny Stanton as a result of a seizure. Tom Stanton, Danny’s nephew and the foundation’s executive director, said the event has brought in $24,000. There still is time to donate.

The “100 Miles for Danny” event was started in 2012 by Nick Curley, a freshman at Taft. Curley’s father, Brian, grew up with the Stanton family in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Tom said Curley raised nearly $40,000 that first year. One of Curley’s cousins has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

“He never met Danny, but he is the same age Danny would be,” Tom said. “He has a giving type of personality that is beyond his years.”

Carroll and O’Connor were joined by senior Alexa Grant, junior and alternate captain Kathleen Gorman, sophomore Bryn Jones, sophomore Nina Riley, sophomore Stephanie Smith, freshman Karly Kolssak and Loyola head coach Rob Messner (Class of 1994). 

Also in attendance was former NHL player Brandon Bollig, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. The organization and its alumni association was involved in the inaugural skate in 2012.

“Part of coaching hockey is teaching life skills and life lessons,” said Messner, who was classmates with Tom. “Giving back is an important experience for the kids.”

In Messner’s first season, the Ramblers ended their season with a 4-2 loss to New Trier in the state semifinals. Seniors Gabriella Ciesla and Kayla Johnson were two of five players to earn all-state honors. Junior Elle Joubert, Gorman and Kolssak were the others. 

“We had a strong team with good senior leadership,” Messner said. “They set the tone, and the girls coming back are ready to build on it. Things are looking up.”

Danny Did’s mission is to advance public awareness for Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), enhance communication between medical professionals and families affected by seizures and allocate seizure detection and prediction devices that may assist in preventing deaths to those in need.

“The Loyola community has been incredibly giving to our cause since we began,” Tom said.

Front row (left to right): Stepanie Smith, Bryn Jones, Katie Carroll, Jane O’connor, Alexa Grant. Back row: Loyola head coach Rob Messner, Karly Kolssak, Kathleen Gorman, Nina Riley.

Photo credit: Danny Did Foundation