"A Small Army of Good"
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 06:00 am
A “small army of good” marched through Mitford Pond for the ninth annual Kimmett Cup last weekend, bringing in $165,000 to help grant sick children’s wishes while celebrating the playful spirit of the late Lindsay Kimmett.
“This one would rate as one of the most emotional of all,” Kelly Kimmett, Lindsay’s dad, said this week. “It would be sadness of course that Lindsay’s not there, hope for these kids that are fighting these diseases, joy in seeing what we can bring to them – and pride in seeing that Lindsay’s legacy empowers people to give.”
More than 500 people on 56 teams – with players from across Canada and the United States – took part in the three-day pond hockey tournament, started by Lindsay’s friends and family to honour her memory after she was killed in a car accident in February 2008. The tournament benefits the Lindsay Leigh Kimmett Memorial Foundation, which has a number of different charitable branches.
This year, the Kimmett Cup pushed way past its goal of raising $125,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation – and also completed the mission of raising $500,000 over the last four years. Kimmett said Kidsport will receive $7,000 of those funds, with the remainder going to assist local programs. In total, the memorial organization has given more than $2 million to initiatives in their late daughter’s name.
“It’s pretty neat to see how far Kelly and Dianne have taken it,” said cousin Jon Kauffman, who travels to Cochrane every year from Tofield, east of Edmonton, to play. “It’s one of those moments in life that you can either let destroy you – or inspire you.”
While most of the weekend’s action took place on Mitford Pond, Cochrane Arena also hosted a handful of Children’s Wish Foundation recipients, some who joined doctors and nurses on the ice for a friendly game, as others – like Tristan Garrett – watched from the stands.
“I just thought it was good to come out for this,” said Garrett, who is currently undergoing treatment for a recurrence of Ewing’s sarcoma, an uncommon form of bone cancer.
The Calgary teenager put his most recent round of chemotherapy on hold so he could take in the tournament. While he’s not yet ready to fulfill his already-granted wish of flying an airplane, he said being able to spend time at events like the Kimmett Cup uplifts him just the same.
“It’s a really good cause,” he said.
“These types of events – they’re almost like mini-wishes in themselves,” echoed Kyla Martin, director of the Children's Wish Foundation of Alberta & Northwest Territories office. “It’s great; there’s so much energy. The Kimmett Cup has been part of the family ... It means so much to us.”
Geoff Claypool also watched his six-year-old son Kipton chase a puck around the rink. Though Kipton is fully recovered now, the boy battled kidney cancer from the time he was two and a half. Children’s Wish helped him head to Disneyland and spend time with Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars.
Claypool said Kipton’s trip gave him a welcome reprieve from the rigamarole of his hospitalizations.
“It was good to have something to look forward to,” he said.
Addison Willis was certainly looking forward to her upcoming wish trip, as she played in the bleachers with her brother Declan. This year’s Children’s Wish Foundation Kimmett Cup Ambassador and her family leave on their Disney Cruise in a couple of weeks.
The four-year-old – who has Congenital Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a rare disease that puts her at risk of low blood platelet counts causing blood clots in her veins – said she was excited to be “kissing a dolphin” and had just found herself a new bathing suit with “Minnie Mouse” on it.
Dr. Nicola Wright of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Dream Catchers hockey team – one of the hematologists who has treated Addison since she was a baby – was happy to see the ailing little girl having such a fun time.
“It’s great to see kids like Addison come out to something like this,” said Wright.
Back at Mitford Pond, pediatric intensive care unit nurse Jessica Oleksiuk put together a team for the first time with about half a dozen of her hospital colleagues – and she also helped organize a bevy of baked goods for sale at the Lindsay K Café.
She said it is pure pleasure for professionals like her to see children being given a chance to put aside their pain – even only for a little while.
“To have that moment in their day, even if it’s one hour or two, where they can legitimately forget about their illness … that’s what a childhood should be like,” she said. “That’s what matters. It feels so rewarding … to know it’s helping kids. It just makes me so happy.”
The donation page at www.kimmettcup.com will remain open until Feb. 28, and videos commemorating the event have been made available on the Kimmett Cup Facebook page.