Remembering Emma Hensel with Washington Capitals and a Few Friends


Friday night is a good time to be in Clarendon, Virginia. It’s one of the best places to unwind after a long week. This Friday night (February 20, 2016) was a little different as people wearing red t-shirts filled Don Tito on Wilson Boulevard to raise funds for the Hensel family who lost their precious Emma earlier this month.



The event, hosted by John and Gina Carlson, was originally meant to help the family stay strong as they fought for three-year old Emma who was suffering with a brain tumor known as DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glima). Emma’s father, Jay, had taken a leave of absence and her mom, Teal, was taking a break from her photography business, to be with Emma. Unfortunately, Emma went to be with the angels before the event; however, Gina and the family turned their sorrow into hope that by bringing awareness other families might be spared their pain.



Washington Capital’s John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik, and Nicklas Backstrom and their wives and girlfriends, lent their support to Gina and the Hensel family by selling raffle tickets to those attending for a drawing of signed merchandise, including a team-signed jersey. It was great to have a chance to mingle with so many Caps friends and to take pictures with the players, while helping someone in need of compassion.



One of the treats of the night was listening to Taylor Carson, who also played for John and Gina at their wedding. Check out is music at


Gina Carlson has a real passion for children and through her blog, Luccas Blessings  she is dedicated to raising support for “St. Jude’s lifesaving mission of finding cures and saving children.” If you click on the link to her blog you will find a link to her fundraising page and through it can help her to meet her target of $100,000. Gina also does some great raffles through her Instagram and you can transfer your Caps tickets to her as a way to help raise funds.


The Washington Capitals have always stepped up to help the community and Friday they did it again, with a little help from their friends. We were honored to part of this night of raising funds and awareness. Thank you John and Gina for your commitment to your community. gina

Update to this story:

img_7939The Carlson’s will again raise fund for DIPG, using the Stanley Cup to draw Capitals fans together. Details can be found at for the July 4th event hosted by John,  Gina, and Bethesda Row (4950 Elm St., Bethesda, MD) This event will honor Michael Mosier, a young boy who lost his life in 2015 after a battle against a tumor in his brain stem. Read more about the organization his parent’s established to draw attention to DIPG and to DEFEAT DIPG.


Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

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