TEANECK, N.J. — Teaneck Police Officer Dennis Kleiber, a cancer survivor, was recognized by the New Jersey Devils as part of Hockey Fights Cancer night on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Kleiber, along with other members of the Teaneck Police Department, stood as Honor Guard during the National Anthem.
A 25-year department veteran, Kleiber was diagnosed with oral squamous cell, a form of skin cancer on the tongue in 2009.
“I thought it was a canker sore that didn’t go away,” he said.
Then he went to the doctor.
“I was very, very lucky,” Kleiber said. “I just had the operation that took care of everything. We caught it early and they removed a small percentage of my tongue.”
Kleiber was recommended to the Devils by his lieutenant Lt. Chris Kurschner. He felt honored -- although he admitted he's more a football guy.
More than $30,000 has been raised by the team so far this season to benefit local hospital cancer care and research programs. More will be raised from a warm-up jersey and stick auction.
The hospitals -- including Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, Saint Barnabas, Atlantic Health and Robert Wood Johnson -- were also provided complimentary tickets for employees and patients.
“It’s very nice to be a part of this, especially for the kids,” Kleiber said. “I was 40 when this happened to me. It was tough mentally, but to see a child when I was going to hospital, to have to go through this. There is nothing worse than that.
“The money raised means a lot more knowing it could possibly change a child’s life.”
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