Saturday, 15 January 2011

Charity Effort Hits Home

The AHL's Chicago Wolves have been one of the community's most active partners since they played their first game in 1994 as part of the International Hockey League. They were always a model franchise on the ice, and they prided themselves on the work they did in the community. In 2001, they were included in the merger between the IHL and the AHL, and they have yet to look back. In the 17 years they have been playing, they have won two IHL Turner Cups, two AHL Calder Cups, and the hearts of thousands of fans in the greater Chicago area. It is this last item - the winning the hearts of fans - that has made the Wolves a good corporate neighbour and a contributor to many charities. This weekend sees the Wolves contributing to another major charity, and this one should hit home for one player on the Wolves.

The Wolves will use a variety of means to raise money for cancer-related charities as they continue the "Fight Against Cancer". Proceeds from the three-game home-stand this weekend will benefit Little Heroes Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Chicago Wolves Charities and other cancer-related causes.

To celebrate the effort, the Wolves will be wearing these charity-related jerseys over the weekend. While I'm not really a fan of the black jerseys, they are for a good cause as the Wolves will be giving them to fans throughout the weekend via raffles and silent auction. For one player, though, this weekend has a much deeper meaning. Darren Haydar will be wearing three different jerseys: one for the silent auction, one for an auction at, and one for a raffle at the games. The reason this matters so much to Haydar is that his finacée, Sara Schuster, has recently recovered from a battle with throat cancer.

Sara was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx at the Mayo Clinic in April 2008, and had to undergo twenty surgeries and twelve rounds of radiation to finally beat the disease. Unfortunately, her voice box and vocal chords had to be removed as part of the battle to defeat the cancer, but the beautiful 27 year-old is now doing well, having been cancer-free since April 2009. While she will have to speak through an electronic voice box implanted at the front base of her throat for the rest of her life and undergo surgery every twelve weeks to have scar tissue removed so she can breathe, the fact is that she beat Stage-4 throat cancer. Not many people have been as lucky.

"I'm very proud to be a part of this Wolves charity event, being a cancer patient myself," Schuster told "Every event that raises money for research towards a cure means so much to the people affected by this terrible disease, and this is a wonderful way to donate to an important cause. When you buy these jerseys, you won’t only be wearing your favorite player's sweater, you’re wearing your support for a cure for cancer."

The jerseys themselves look pretty good despite being black. There's nothing gaudy or tacky on them, and there are no major distractions or flair that ruin the aesthetics. That being said, I would have liked to see something more in relation to the cause the Wolves are supporting in these jerseys, but they're a good charity jersey as they are. Well done, Wolves! I'm not going to be critical of a jersey that's going to help thousands of cancer patients in Illinois, that's for sure.

As for Haydar, he's been an active part of Sara's battle since she was diagnosed.

"I’m going to continue to stick by her side and do whatever I can to help her beat this terrible disease," he told Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times. To be as strong as she is and to fight as hard as she has is something I really admire about her."

After defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins four-games-to-two in the AHL Calder Cup Final in 2008, the Wolves presented Sara with the game puck from the sixth game of the Calder Cup Finals to show their support in her fight. After their hard fight through four rounds of intense playoff hockey, the presentation of the puck to Miss Schuster moved several players and Sara to tears.

"I’m happy to be alive and I refuse to give up," Schuster said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "I am blessed to have the support of Darren, relatives, friends and the support of the Wolves’ organization has been super."

Count me in as a supporter of this excellent weekend in the fight against cancer. I think that what the Wolves are doing is top-notch in terms of being a good corporate citizen, and the impact will be felt by many people and fans in Illinois. As for Sara, I wish her nothing but the best as she continues to get treatment after her battle with this disease, and I'm very happy she was victorious!

If you'd like to support the Wolves in their battle against cancer, the charity auction for Darren Haydar's jersey has been posted and is running! Click here to go to the auction page! The current bid is $275, and all the money is going back to cancer-related charities for research into defeating this disease!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Charity Donations said...

It’s great to do charity and be a part of a social cause! It takes a lot of efforts and patience to raise money for various social causes.