Published in the May 13th issue of The Edmonton Sun. News
Champs rally for a cause
Drew Calvert’s hockey equipment has gone untouched for nearly eight months.
The former goaltender who had been playing hockey since the age of five and had graduated from the hockey program at Vimy Ridge Academy in 2008, is now in a wheelchair after being run over and dragged by a vehicle in July.
Will never walk again
Calvert barely survived, with injuries to his shoulders, ribs, spine, pelvis and lungs. Paralyzed from the waist down, he will never be able to walk again.
Calvert spent two months at the University of Alberta Hospital, followed by about six months at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, only finally being able to come home this past March, after his parents finished installing a wheelchair-accessible elevator and bathroom into their southeast Edmonton home.
“It feels great to be home,” he said Wednesday.
Calvert’s family had to pay over $40,000 to install the special elevator and bathroom.
“We needed those two things to make the house accessible enough for him to get out of the hospital,” said Calvert’s mother Trudy. “It’s been a long and drawn-out process.”
But more money needs to be spent on getting him a specially-modified vehicle, which could cost up to $50,000 on top of the cost of the vehicle itself.
That’s where the Edmonton Oilers, Eskimos, and other local sports celebrities come in.
The hockey program’s Carnival of Champions fundraiser, taking place Sunday, is meant to bring in funds to help Calvert and his family.
The Oilers’ Zack Stortini and Jason Strudwick, the Eskimo’s Aaron Fiacconi and Kyle Koch, other Oilers and Eskimos alumni, Eskimos cheerleaders and Rush dancers, Oil Kings players, Olympic Women’s hockey goaltender Shannon Szabados and others will be at the fundraiser over the weekend.
“At first I was thinking, ‘Why do I deserve this? It’s a lot.’ But then I started realizing, ‘I didn’t deserve this,’ ” Calvert said, motioning to his legs, while sitting in his wheelchair.
The fundraiser also includes food, a mobile video game theatre, a dunk tank and various games and challenges for kids. A silent auction will also be taking place, where items such as signed hockey gear from Wayne Gretzky and other Oilers will be auctioned off.
Money raised at the Carnival of Champions will go towards buying Calvert the specialized vehicle, as well as paying for his post-secondary education.
The 19-year-old had originally hoped to enter the instrumentation program at NAIT, but must now change his career path.
“I’m looking at maybe producing music,” he said, adding he listened to a lot of music while at the hospital. “I love music, it saved me.”
Despite the difficulties of performing simple, everyday tasks, Calvert’s parents are happy the situation wasn’t worse.
“As bad as we all feel, it could have been so much worse and we’re so grateful,” Trudy said.
The Carnival of Champions fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, at Vimy Ridge Academy’s Donnan School campus, 7803 87 St.
Admission is $5 and free for kids age three and under.