Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Zebra Chicks Care Too

This article isn't about any African hoofed animals, but there is a strong correlation to stripes and those that go about earning them. While I've talked a lot about the NHLPA charitable organizations, there's no doubt that there are other people that give their time and their efforts selflessly, and these people should also be highlighted for the efforts they are putting forth. The NHL Officials also do a phenomenal job in their charitable work, but it doesn't just end with the men that wear the stripes. Instead, the wives of NHL Officials have decided to raise a ton of money for a very good cause this summer.

If you wander over to the NHLOA website, you can find a great article written by Amy Watson, wife of NHL referee Brad Watson. In her article, you learn that Chris Van Massenhoven, Christa Cherrey, Kristen Ciamaga, Katie Line-Courcy Joannette, Tamara Devorski, Rhonda Galloway, Mary Imrie, Alaine Kowal, Kathy McConville Racicot, Natalie Miller, Natalie Miller-Kovachik and Michelle O’Halloran are all participating in the Shopper’s Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, taking place September 10 – 11 in Toronto. It's a great event, and they can use your help.

The ladies were inspired by Chris Van Massenhoven's fight against Stage Three breast cancer. Chris found out that she was afflicted with the disease in April 2009. After six months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and lymph node removal, she finally finished her radiation therapy in February 2010. Chris decided to participate in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers after defeating cancer.

When word of Chris' successful battle and charitable undertaking got around amongst the wives of the NHL officials, it became a no-brainer for the ladies to rally around Chris and her cause. After all, nearly everyone who is participating has been touched by cancer or knows someone who has been afflicted with cancer, so it's a cause that hits close to home.

"Together, I believe we can all make a difference," says Christa Cherrey, wife of NHL linesman Scott Cherrey. "I will walk for all the amazing survivors, those in my life who lost their fight too soon and for my daughter and nieces, in hopes that they will never be concerned about this."

And so it began: the "Zebra Chicks", named for their husbands' chosen field of work, decided to walk with Chris to show their support and raise money to help all women in their fight against cancer.

"Each member of this extended family is bringing a unique talent to the Zebra Chicks. Chris describes the Natalies as the organizers and Katie Joannette as the team recruiter. Kathy Racicot is the t-shirt designer and head cheerleader; Michelle O’Halloran is the pajama pre-party host; Christa Cherrey is the fundraising inspiration, and Alaine Kowal is the one with brilliant ideas. Tamara Devorski is the you-can-do-it girl and Rhonda Galloway is the motivational walker."

Now, I know Mrs. Galloway quite well, and I'm very proud of her in taking on this kind of challenge. She really is passionate about these kinds of events, and I'm quite certain that she's more than just a "motivational walker" in this group. Her energy and enthusiasm will not be lost on any of the women, and this outlook in life that she brings to everything will help to inspire everyone.

That's what I'm hoping to do today: inspire everyone. I'm pledging to donate $50 to Rhonda's total today, and I want to see the Zebra Chicks meet their goal of $26,400. I'm not soliciting donations, but I would hope that both Chris' story and the story of the Zebra Chicks would motivate you to add some money to their total. $10, $20, a nickel... anything to help them on their path to defeating cancer.

Here's how you can add some money if you so feel like donating:

  1. Click on this link to get you to the endcancer.ca website.
  2. Click on "Toronto" where the ladies will be walking.
  3. In the top right, click on the "Donate" button.
  4. Change the radio button to "Search for team", and enter "Zebra Chicks" in the search field.
  5. When the search returns the Zebra Chicks team, click on their name.
  6. You should arrive at this page where you get info on their progress.
  7. Click on any of the ladies' names, and make a donation to aid their progress.
I'm proud to mention this effort by the NHL Officials' wives as they help both a friend and colleague in Chris Van Massenhoven, as well as helping daughters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, and mothers across the country.

While their husbands are wearing the stripes, these ladies have certainly earned them. But they still have a ways to go in achieving their ultimate goal - defeating cancer for good!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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