|The feisty Clarkson is less charitable on the ice, where he doesn't give an inch to Devils' opponents. |
is becoming a road warrior in the battle against cancer.
The Devils right wing will participate in the “2010 Ride with Lance” charity bicycle race on Saturday Aug. 28 to raise funds for programs and patient care for those living with cancer in southern Ontario. Headlining the event will be cyclist Lance Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer before going on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
Race organizers reached out to Clarkson through his “Clarky’s Kids” charity which he leads in conjunction with his former junior team, the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. The program gives children from the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario the chance to experience a Kitchener game and meet with the players and coaching staff.
Joining the fight was an easy decision.
“I think it was a no-brainer,” Clarkson said “I like doing charity stuff, I like working with kids, so this was something that, when I was asked, I didn’t even hesitate. I said yes right away.”
Clarkson is eager to meet Armstrong, who came out of retirement this year and raced the Tour de France last month.
“I’m sure it’ll be fun and I look forward to meeting a guy like Lance, with what he’s been through and what he’s overcome,” Clarkson said. “What he’s won in his career is pretty amazing, so I think it’ll be special to meet him.”
The annual ride takes place in the Waterloo region of southern Ontario. Clarkson, a Toronto native, hopes to be ready.
“I already have a bike all set up and ready to go,” he said. “We’ll see. Hockey’s a 40-second shift so this will be a little bit different.”
As tough as they come on the ice, Clarkson believes it’s important to give back when he’s away from the rink. “Clarky’s Kids” raises between $60-80,000 a year, all of which goes to help cover the costs involved with treatment.
“Say a kid has cancer and his family has to travel from Toronto to Hamilton, there’s gas money included, hotels where they have to stay,” Clarkson explained. “They’ll submit their hotel bills and stuff like that to us and we make sure all that’s taken care of. A lot of these families have enough going on in their lives to not have to worry about financial things as well. So those are the things that we try to help out with is financial issues for different families. There’s also treatment. In Canada, the health care’s good but there are also bills that have to be paid.”
They’re values that Clarkson learned growing up.
“I’ve always liked working with kids and doing charity work,” he said. “I was brought up with my grandparents, and before my grandmother passed away she always told me that if you’re fortunate enough to be able to help people, you make sure you do it.”
to learn more about Clarky's Kids. For more information on the 2010 Ride with Lance, visit ridewithlance.org
Clarkson, who re-signed with the Devils in June, also got married this summer.
“It went well,” he said. “A lot of the guys from the team were up there for it and it was a fun time.”
The wedding guests included Devils past and present such as Martin Brodeur
, John Madden, Paul Martin, Dan McGillis, Bryce Salvador
, and Colin White.