“Hope is…I live on hope,” Roy told reporters gathered around him during the 12th Annual Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament at The International Golf Course in Bolton, Mass. on Monday.
“Hope gets me out of bed in the morning. But hope needs to be funded — and that’s what the Bruins are doing here today. It inspires the people that participate. They’re funding my hope, they’re funding all of us with spinal cord injuries that things are going to get better.”
The Bruins’ roster and alumni were on hand for the charity golf event, where a smiling Roy mingled with the likes of Zdeno Chara and Ray Bourque.
Roy was the tournament honoree. The Boston Bruins Foundation and Boston Bruins Alumni paid tribute to the 20th anniversary of his accident and thanked him for his dedication to enhancing the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families.
The Bruins presented him with a $50,000 check to the Travis Roy Foundation, which helps spinal cord injury survivors and funds research for a cure.
Roy’s Foundation was established in 1997, two years after the hockey accident that drove him into the boards and cracked his fourth vertebra, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair. He was a promising 20-year-old hockey star, just 11 seconds into his first collegiate game at Boston University.
“That fateful October night in 1995 signaled the death of one dream – but also the eventual rebirth of a special kind of hope,” reads a quote in Travis Roy’s bio on his website (TravisRoyFoundation.org).
When Roy reclaimed a fulfilling and productive life following the accident, he wasn’t just hopeful for himself — he was hopeful for others.
“Travis has done an incredible job since his tragedy,” said Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation Bob Sweeney, who presented Roy with the check. “What he’s done, he’s been amazing in helping out other individuals that have been in similar situations as him.”
“The 20th anniversary to the date on October 20 is going to be a momentous day for Travis and his organization and we’re happy to be able to support him along with the Bruins alumni with the proceeds from this tournament. It was natural - Travis has done a great job, he’s been so inspiring.”
“I mean, the Bruins have just been incredible,” said the soft-spoken Roy. “The hockey family’s been pretty special, but the Bruins over the years have made some significant donations to the Travis Roy Foundation. We’ve got a big event on October 20th which coincides with the 20th anniversary of my injury and the Bruins are going to be the lead sponsor for that event.”
“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since my injury, but the Bruins were there day one. I remember Ray Bourque being at my bedside; I remember Bobby Orr — that was the year they did the All-Star Game in Boston and they just did everything they could to help support me and get me headed in the right direction and raise some money that has made a big impact in my life early on. The Jacobs family has been incredible.”
The event on Oct. 20 is tabbed as “A Night For Travis Roy: Honoring the Man and His Foundation.” Details can be found on TravisRoyFoundation.org.
“The sports community and the hockey world is such a close-knit family and I think when Travis’ injury happened, everybody came together to help support him,” said Sweeney.
“I’ve just got give it up for Bob Sweeney, leading the Boston Bruins Foundation,” said Roy. “I go to a lot of different events and different charity events for different causes and I swear the Bruins are everywhere.”
“I have met Zdeno a number of times over the years and he’s just been great and I’m excited to see how the team does — I feel a little older, a lot of the guys that I played with in the NHL they’ve moved on and retired, Chris Drury, Mike Grier,” Roy smiled, amazed at how the time has flow by.
Current Bruins like Patrice Bergeron were 10 years old when Roy’s accident happened.
“Any time we come here, it’s always for a great reason - to give back and to help out, and a guy like Travis obviously is someone that we all look up to,” said Bergeron. “The way that he’s handled himself and the way that everything happened, he always wanted to make a difference in the community and it’s definitely nice to be out here and being able to help out and be part of it.”
“You know, the first couple years after my accident, there was a lot of attention on my story and I didn’t really feel like I’d earned it,” said Roy. “I basically kind of got a freak injury and it was unfortunate — I graduated from college that was a big step, I felt good about that. But to date, the foundation has raised over six million dollars. We funded a number of cutting edge research labs around the country.”
Roy’s impact can be felt much deeper than the funds raised by his foundation.
Funds are needed. They are what drives the research and care. But it’s his hope that fuels it.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” said Roy. “I’m proud of the way — just the community. I tell people, you know ,I live in Boston and I just feel like everybody’s rooting for me. And not only for me, but they’ve been extremely generous to make the foundation a success as well.”
“So it’s been a long road: there’s highs, there’s lows, but there’s been a heck of a lot more highs than I ever thought and far fewer lows than I would’ve expected.”
“It’s…I’ve just been grateful. And again, for the Bruins to continue to do what they do — every year they do something for the foundation and this is a big year and they’ve been stepping it up. I’m just proud and honored and humbled, really.”