Matt Fraser shares thoughts on final #?s of ?Shoot for the Star?

Submitted by EKFH on 01-02-2010

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who supported the Shoot for the Star fundraiser.  I would also like to thank East Kootenay Foundation for Health for recognizing me with a 2009 Community Builder of the Year nomination.  I am humbled by this honour. 

(Photo compliments of Bob Learmonth)

There are a number of people I need to thank as I will be the first to admit, I didn’t get here alone!

At the top of that list is Donna Grainger – thanks for all of your work to make our campaign a success and more importantly for your faith in me.  I came to her with an idea, but she really was the brains behind this operation and I couldn’t have accomplished all of this without her help and guidance.

Mel would kill me if I didn’t thank her next!  That is a joke really, but I can’t say enough about my billet family ~ Bill and Mel Graham.  They go way beyond just food and shelter – they are great role models and like most parents, they always encourage me to do what’s right.  They are happy for every success I have both on and off the ice and like all ICE billet families they put up with a lot!  They have welcomed me not only into their home but into their family and I will forever be grateful to them.

I would also like to thank the Kootenay ICE organization and my teammates, and also Denny’s Restaurant for their support of the Starlite Campaign to raise money for the foundation.  They came on board early, were always willing to lend a hand and they were 100% behind me from start to finish.

Through my fundraising, I heard many gut wrenching stories of people who have friends and family dealing with cancer.  I was privileged to hear many “feel good” stories too, people who went above and beyond to help.  I think of Hannah who gave me the money from her piggy bank, Cooper and the hockey team who organized a bottle drive and gave us the proceeds and all those hockey fans and others who chose to donate.  

There are too many people to mention but I would like everyone to know that I have ended this campaign a different person that I started it. 

Many people ask about my story so I will share a little with you.  I was in Grade 6 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  Both her parents had battled this disease and my Grandma passed away just a few weeks before my mom was diagnosed.  Our family was stunned by this news and although they tried to shield my sister and me from too many details, I remember thinking that everyone dies if they have cancer.  I now know that this isn’t always true, but at the time, it was a thought that shattered my world. 

I know a couple of past and present teammates have mom’s battling cancer and last summer, when Mel’s mom was diagnosed, I started to think that “cancer” was a cause I should devote some energy to. 

My focus is and has to be hockey, however Shoot for the Star has made me realize how small that is compared to what some people deal with.  I feel privileged to have made a difference in the life of any Cranbrook person who comes face to face with this disease.

It is truly amazing that we started with a goal of $5,000 to light one star and in the end lit two and raised $14,111.97 thanks to donations and proceeds from the NHL jersey auction all in support for the Shoot for the Star.  I want to thank all those who believed in this fundraiser. 

Cranbrook is a wonderful place to play hockey and call home and it will hold a special place in my heart long after my hockey playing days are done. 

Although this fundraiser is over, I really encourage you to continue to donate to healthcare by supporting East Kootenay Foundation for Health (