Caniacs for Emma hopes to create special moment for 12-year-old fan with Down syndrome

RALEIGH, N.C (WTVD) -- Emma Izzo, a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, has stolen the hearts of Hurricanes fans because of her pure relationship with Canes forward Jordan Martinook.

In just a week, the fan base raised over $11,000 to get Emma and her family season tickets as well as tickets for other special needs families.

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Emma Izzo, a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, has stolen the hearts of Hurricanes fans because of her relationship with Canes forward Jordan Martinook.



A friendship solid as ice: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook forges special bond with 12-year-old fan with Down syndrome

Crystal Speeks-Strohecker, the woman who started the initiative, ordered 600 poster boards for Tuesday's Game 2 between the Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Before the game, she handed out the posters for fans to write their own signs that say 'Caniacs for Emma.' The hope is to start a chant 10 minutes into the first period so that everyone near and far hears the message.

"That's everything," she said. "People coming together when everything out there is tearing us apart, that kind of brings humanity back. That really reminds you of why we're all in this together."

Speeks-Strohecker says the vision is to create a foundation for the special needs community and help bring more fans together from all backgrounds.

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