When men’s hockey hosts the Guelph Gryphons on Oct. 24, the hope is Carley Allison will be there to sing “O Canada”.
Singing the national anthem isn’t out of the ordinary for the first-year student — she performed it at a Toronto Maple Leafs pre-season game on Sept. 28.
This time around, though, singing might mean a little bit more, since it’ll be at an event called “Puck Cancer for Carley”.
It’s not guaranteed that Allison will sing at the event, as she was re-diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma — a rare form of cancer — in August, just days before she started at Queen’s. She’d initially been diagnosed in February 2013.
Since the school year began, Allison’s been going back and forth between Kingston and her home in Toronto to undergo treatment.
Now, the men’s hockey team is putting forth a charitable effort in her name, with the proceeds going towards the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
It was Allison’s decision that the money raised would go towards the charity, after she was approached by Braeden Corbeth — a centre on the men’s hockey team — about adding on the charity aspect to the Guelph game.
“It was exciting and obviously extremely nice of him to do this for me and the foundation,” Allison said. “Overall, it was really exciting when he let me know and told me about the proceeds from the raffle going to the hospital.”
Corbeth knew of Allison through mutual friends and came up with the idea for the game shortly after she was re-diagnosed.
Allison said Corbeth let her know about the plan for the game a few weeks ago. She hopes the event will help create awareness for cancer charities.
“I want it obviously first and foremost to raise awareness for the cause,” Allison said. “There’s so many students, so I’m sure it’s going to raise awareness, but it will also raise money.”
While Corbeth spearheaded the game, he said his Gaels teammates have become just as involved.
“They were all just wanting to help with whatever they could do. I told them just a little bit about Carley’s story,” Corbeth said. “I just explained it to them, and we just wanted to help. We didn’t really know any other way to help other than to try to put together an event for her.”
Corbeth said he has worked with Queen’s Athletics’ marketing department and administration to ensure the event could take place, adding that men’s hockey head coach Brett Gibson has helped as well, including donating Ottawa Senators tickets as a raffle prize.
Since students get into OUA sporting events for free, Puck Cancer for Carley will be based on donations from spectators. Corbeth said there will be perks to donating, including line skip at Ale House.
The team is also selling gear emblazoned with “Puck Cancer” and raffle tickets to help raise additional funds.
Corbeth said there isn’t a specific monetary goal for the event.
“We’re just hoping to get as much awareness and donations as possible,” he said. “But we also just want to show Carley we’re there for her, and that we want to support her and that even though she doesn’t know us that well, we’re inspired by her and how great she is.”
Allison’s perseverance and optimism sparked Corbeth’s desire to get involved.
“I met her and she was just such a vibrant and positive person and this was even in September after she had been re-diagnosed,” he said. “To endure what she’s gone through, to finally be cancer-free and then be re-diagnosed and still be positive about it is pretty remarkable.
“We’re a bunch of burly hockey men,” he added, “and she’s twice as strong as us.”
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