MEDICINE HAT, AB – A flashy look for the Medicine Hat Tigers over the weekend, but it was a local family taking centre stage.
Organ donor Sandy Creasy and her 18-year-old daughter Cassidy were on hand, dropping the puck ahead of Saturday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels.
In 2007, Cassidy’s kidneys were attacked by e-coli, eventually breaking down over time, something that took a toll on their family.
“For about seven years after that, my kidneys just slowly declined in function until eventually I had to go and get a kidney transplant.”
Luckily for Cassidy, her mother was a match and she received a transplant three years ago, a procedure that might have saved her life.
“If it hadn't been her, I would have had to wait on the kidney transplant list until I could,” said Creasy. “But, it just worked out so well, I didn't have to go on dialysis or anything.”
It was the Tigers’ turn to host the WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry game on Saturday, wearing special plaid third-jerseys for the first time in a decade.
Gary Haden scored a pair of goals wearing the third jersey and said the Tigers enjoyed wearing the new threads, which were later auctioned off supporting the local chapter of the Kidney Foundation.
“It was really special, especially seeing all the fans come out and taking pictures in warm up,” said Haden. “It was a really cool atmosphere to be a part of.”
Close to $50,000 was raised on Saturday night, shattering all expectations with a number of jerseys going for over $4,000.
Captain Mark Rassell’s sweater was the top seller, netting a cool $4,800 for the non-profit organization.
Head coach Shaun Clouston said the support from the community and his players continues to blow him away.
“Whenever you can get a good percentage of the community involved in something like that, and create some awareness and some excitement, I think it's a real positive,” said Clouston. “And, I think the players did a great job.”
Having Cassidy and Sandy on hand for the opening ceremony was a moment that many of the players, including Haden, won’t soon forget.
“That really hits home for a lot of people, a lot of people have dealt with that in their life. So, to give someone a second chance in life is awesome, and I think that inspired us to really go hard tonight.”
That second chance is allowing Cassidy to live a full life, spending her time at the University of Calgary studying engineering rather than being confined to a hospital bed.
“Not having to go into a hospital three times a week for like six hours at a time, it just really improves the quality of life and it means so much.”
And according to the teen, the message of organ donation is reaching a wider audience thanks to the Tigers.
“It is possible to be a living donor, that it is possible to do that for somebody who you know, or even don't know.”
Anyone interested in signing up as an organ donor can visit the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s website.
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