Community steps up for Aidan Love fund-raiser
By Sam Riches on June 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm
Porter Creek Secondary School was a sight to be seen this past Saturday.
The parking lot overflowed with local students, teachers, hockey enthusiasts and friends who gathered together for the Aidan Love fund-raiser street hockey tournament.
Aside from testing their mettle on the outdoor rinks, participants basked in the warm and sunny weather and feasted on a plethora of baked and barbequed goods.
“Looking around here today, this is perfect,” said math and science teacher Brian Willson as he manned the grill.
Love is a 2010 graduate of Porter Creek who suffered a spinal injury in February.
“He’s from the school and the community so we talked and said ‘what can we do to help?’
“He’s super athletic and we wanted to do something that would get him active again. So we wanted to raise money for a sports wheelchair.”
Hosting a street hockey tournament was a natural decision.
Love is an avid hockey player who played for the Whitehorse Mustangs. He was also an accomplished volleyball player and represented the Yukon at the 2009 Canada Games in Charlottetown.
The school set their fundraising goal at $3,000 dollars.
As of this morning, they expected they brought in somewhere between five and six thousand dollars.
“It’s been amazing,” said Willson.
The kids brought in spare change, pocket change; whatever they had and within a few days we had $500. I’d go to a classroom and ask, ‘do you know who Aidan is?’ and they’d say ‘yeah, we know who he is, he’s one of us.’
“It’s very cool.”
Seventeen teams took part in the tournament, which featured school staff against students in some of the match-ups.
School principal, Brendan Kelly, felt his performance was less than stellar.
“I was only getting scored on and getting sunburnt,” he said, laughing.
“But from the school’s point of view, it was a great success. We had a load of fun and we got a lot of people out from the community, raised a lot of money and it was great for the student and staff moral to help deal with the situation. It showed a lot of respect for Aidan and we were able to raise more than enough to buy him a sports wheelchair.”
The school also received support from the community, including a $1,000 donation from The Dollar Store and $500 from Wintemute Electric Ltd.
The school began raising funds before the tournament, hosting draws, raffles and other events to get the momentum started.
“When Aidan had his accident our staff got together and, with some of our students, we wanted to figure out what we could do,” said Vicke Dawe, a member of the schools Physical Education department.
“Aidan was one of our students who was very active. We wanted to get him a sports wheelchair so he could further his career and activities in sport. The community support has been great.”
Unfortunately, Love was on the road heading back to Whitehorse with his brothers when the tournament was taking place.
The second-year student at the University of Victoria has been in Vancouver since the accident, working on his recovery at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre.
Bonnie Love, Aidan’s mother was on hand to witness the fund-raiser and was blown away by the support.
“It was great,” she said. “It was lots of fun, the weather cooperated, there was lots of energy, it was lovely.”
Bonnie was able to send pictures of the fund-raiser to her sons and she said they were very excited to see the outpouring of community support.
Dawe was also impressed with the turnout and the efforts of everyone involved.
“It went really well, we’re very happy with the participation and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves,” she said.“They’re hoping we’ll do it again.”
Dawe is hoping that Aidan will be back in town this week; their return to Whitehorse been slowed by the road conditions; where they will be able to present him with the sports wheelchair.
“I know Bonnie was very thankful and respectful,” said Dawe.
“Hopefully he’ll be back in Whitehorse this week and hopefully we’ll get a chance to present it to him at the end of the week.”
With the school handily exceeding their original fund-raising goals, Willson is hopeful the new wheelchair will be a top of the line model.
“We set a $3,000 goal for ourselves but even before the hockey tournament began we met the goal,” he said.
“If they wanted a top of the line Chevy, now they may have enough room to get a Cadillac.”