The Western Hockey League, in partnership with Re/Max, raised more than $265,500 to promote organ donation in an event spearheaded by hockey personality Don Cherry.
WHL fans purchased special Don Cherry suit-themed jerseys and registered to be organ donors at CanadaDonates.ca. The $265,500 raised is the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s largest public awareness and fundraising campaign for organ donation.
“The WHL and our Western Canada-based clubs are proud to partner with Re/Max of Western Canada and their agents to help promote the importance of organ donation and support for local kidney foundations,” says WHL commissioner Ron Robison.
During the months of October 2017 and March 2018, 17 WHL clubs played host to themed game nights, complete with a variety of promotions for fans in attendance. Special-edition Don Cherry bobbleheads were given to fans, along with limited-edition Don Cherry trading cards.
“I knew the people of the Western Hockey League would come through, and they came through in spades,” says Cherry, on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. “We couldn’t have done it without Re/Max, our sponsor. $265,500 is the most we’ve ever raised and when you see something like that, it makes you very proud to be a Canadian.”
On the ice, WHL member clubs sported unique Don Cherry-themed uniforms, which were then put up for auction, with proceeds designated towards local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
“Being involved with the Cherry family and the Kidney Foundation was a very exciting opportunity for us,” says Elton Ash, regional EVP, Re/Max of Western Canada. “As long-time supporters of organ donation across Canada we hope this partnership has increased the awareness about how critical it is to be an organ donor. Many lives can be enriched and saved when you register as a donor.”
The Kidney Foundation is a cause close to the Cherry family. Don’s son, Tim, received a kidney transplant from his sister Cindy. Close to 4,500 Canadians are awaiting organ donation today – 76 per cent whom require a kidney.