RALEIGH, N.C. (April 20, 2007) - His closely-cropped hair a fresh reminder of his last charity effort, Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward
was at it again this week.
The Special Olympics of North Carolina announced Thursday that Ward helped raise almost $9,000 through his Cam’s Champs charity, which he created prior to this season. Ward made good on his pledge to donate $3 for every save he made, which, after 1,458 saves, turned into a hefty amount.
Also contributing to the final figure of $8,814 were members of the general public who signed up to become members of Cam’s Champs by making online donations at the SONC Web site. The organization will use the money to support the athletes during their annual summer games in June.
“We’re fortunate as athletes to be able to be doing what we’re doing, and anytime that you can give back in some way or form is something that I like to do,” said the charitable Ward, who recently shaved his head to raise money for cancer research.
Before this season, the 23-year-old Ward, who just finished his second season in the NHL, had wanted to become involved with the charity dating back to a relationship he formed with an athlete while playing junior hockey for the Red Deer Rebels in western Canada.
“A good friend of mine who was a dressing room attendant was involved in the Special Olympics, and I knew that if I ever got the opportunity at the pro level to start doing a charity that I would do it for the Special Olympics,” said Ward. “I began a great relationship with him, and by the time I left Red Deer he was calling me his second brother”
Ward still keeps in touch with his friend, a swimmer named Mikel McIver, and even saw him this past December when the Hurricanes played in Calgary.
“He was still calling me his brother,” said Ward.
Besides just making donations for every save he makes, Ward also supports the athletes by providing them tickets to Hurricanes’ home games.
“A lot of our athletes don’t get the opportunity to see any level of professional sports, so to be able to come to these games is very special for them,” said Keith Fishburne, President/CEO of SONC. “I think another thing that’s equally important is when one of our athletes, who’s really striving to do the best in their sport, when they’re recognized by an athlete at Cam’s level, that just does wonders for our guys. It really increases their self-esteem and it makes them proud of what they’re doing.”
Although Ward won’t be making any more saves for the Hurricanes this season, don’t expect that to be the end of his involvement with the Special Olympics.
“This doesn’t end today,” he said. “This is just the beginning in my eyes. This was a great year this year, and I anticipate it being even better next year.”
To learn more about Cam's Champs, visit the SONC Web site