While hockey is Milos’ life-blood, he is equally passionate about the gift of life made possible by his BMT and the care he received at City of Hope.
When the National Hockey League drafted Milos Holan to play for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1993, it was a dream come true for the young Czech star. The son of a professional hockey player, Milos excelled in the sport, becoming player of the year for the Czech Republic’s top hockey team, setting defense records and winning national championships. In the states, his good fortune continued when he was traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
But his luck on the ice came to a halt two years later, when a routine physical exam led to a stunning conclusion. Milos had chronic ganulocytic leukemia. “I had absolutely no symptoms,” says Milos incredulously. Fortunately, as a player for the Mighty Ducks, Milos had access to the most advanced medical expertise in the world. He was referred to City of Hope where he learned that he would not survive without a bone marrow transplant (BMT). After his family was tested and did not yield a donor match, a search was launched through the National Marrow Donor Program. Four months later, a match was identified and in February 1996, Milos underwent the BMT.
Milos returned to the Mighty Ducks, but was not yet in his best form and was released the following season. He returned to the Czech Republic and, with dogged determination, reclaimed his spot as best defenseman there before going on to play for Germany. In 2000, he retired and is now coaching first division professional hockey in his hometown, Ostrava, where he is close to his parents and his children, Veronika and Milos Jr.
While hockey is Milos’ life-blood, he is equally passionate about the gift of life made possible by his BMT and the care he received at City of Hope. In an effort to inspire others in the Czech Republic — and bring prominence to the lifesaving power of BMT, he published a best-selling autobiography, titled “City of Hope.” He came to the United States to fulfill a dream: City of Hope gave him a future and the opportunity to fulfill new dreams.