The Windsor Spitfires are taking part in the Windsor Cancer Centre’s sixth annual Grow On Windsor Campaign to help raise awareness for cancer affecting men.
As part of their awareness efforts, the campaign encourages men to give up grooming for a month while seeking donations for equipment that will continue to help cancer treatment in the Windsor area. Spitfires’ players and staff members have registered on the website to gather donations of their own.
It’s a cause near and dear to Spitfires co-owner and cancer survivor Stephen Savage, who is among this year’s Grow On Campaign ambassadors.
“It was our thought to be able to bring some of the local hockey teams, including the Spitfires, into this for one, cancer awareness, and two, local fundraising,” said Savage.
When Savage was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2008, the equipment required to treat him was not yet available in Windsor. As a result, he had to make the trip to Karmanos Cancer Centre in Detroit for the eight-week radiation treatment.
“I’ve said this before, there’s no better place to be treated than your own hometown and there is no better place to recover than in your own home, in your own bed,” continued Savage. “The vital importance of being in a local facility with the best treatment equipment available is near and dear to my heart because I was one who had to go out of our community to get that treatment.”
Since 2015, Grow On Windsor has raised over a million dollars, including a record $340,000 just last year.
As a member of the Ontario Hockey League family, Savage believes it’s important players are aware of the impact of cancer and take the opportunity to help out where possible.
“Cancer has had quite an impact on the Ontario Hockey League, thinking recently of Dale Hawerchuk and others. When we realize the impact of cancer, to bring that to the forefront of players’ minds is an important aspect of the game and what we at the Ontario Hockey League can deliver to our players, because it’s about player development in terms of their hockey careers, but this is a side of their development that I think is important.”
Click here to donate to the Spitfires’ Grow On Windsor page.