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Cancer news of young friend, co-star hits Sabres' Biron, O'Reilly hard

During the Buffalo Sabres' home games this month, the team is playing a fundraising commercial starring Ryan O'Reilly, Martin Biron, Sabretooth and a 5-year-old girl named Isabella Phelan. With a bow in her hair, she smiles throughout the ad for cancer-fighting "Bald for Bucks."

The commercial is light-hearted, but it's taken on a sadder tone. Biron revealed Phelan has suffered a relapse of her cancer.

The news hit the young girl's co-stars hard.

"I've seen her a bunch of times, and she's soooo sweet," O'Reilly said Friday in KeyBank Center. "She's so nice. It's tough.

"Obviously, her story is really tough. She's been through so much. That's awful. I really hope she's doing well and things will be OK."

Biron, one of the Sabres' studio analysts, will have his head shaved live during the Feb. 25 game broadcast by studio host Brian Duff. Biron's Bald for Bucks fundraising page is now dedicated to Phelan.

"I am sending her and her family thoughts and prayers, and hope that you will do the same," Biron wrote.

Phelan's family provided Biron with an address for those wishing to send well-wishes:

Isabella Phelan
C/o Courage of Carly Fund
Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263

There will be a Bald for Bucks stand set up in the arena during Saturday's home game against Los Angeles.

"She's a sweet girl that I loved being around, always had a smile on her face," O'Reilly said. "Her family, too, they were always so grateful to be around and it was so nice to have them around. It's very sad. She's a special person."

Sabres cut it close for cancer fundraiser

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