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Town hosting charity hockey game in honour of young citizen

By: Briana Shymanski

  |  Posted: Monday, Jan 21, 2013 03:03 pm

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Chestermere Winterfest is packed with activities for all ages, but one has become a mainstay of the annual festival. For the third year in a row, Winterfest will include a charity hockey game and this year’s contest will benefit a deserving young man.

Bradley Bruce, 14, was born with a brain tumour and has been subjected to seizures ever since.

It was removed when he was four months old, but in order to treat it properly, doctors had to remove a quarter of Bruce’s brain as well.

The surgery paralyzed the left side of Bruce’s body, but he was able to regain 60 per cent of movement. Four years ago, the seizures stopped altogether.

However, the seizures returned in May 2012 and have lasted anywhere between eight to 20 minutes.

Bruce’s mother, Valerie, said the young man is undergoing testing to determine if brain surgery would reduce the frequency and the intensity of his seizures.

The idea to play the charity hockey game in Bruce’s honour came from local firefighters who were often the first to respond to the Bruce family’s 911 calls when Bruce needed medical attention due to the severity of his seizures. The firefighters will be joined in the game by local RCMP members.

“We wanted somebody in the community to play for,” said Senior Firefighter Mike Romaniuk in a press release.

“We saw all the trouble they were going through so we figured why not choose them to help raise awareness about the (epilepsy) he has.

“We want them as a family to know that we will always be there for them if we are needed.”

With each charity game the town has hosted, the admission is given a donation to the Chestermere food bank and the proceeds from a raffle are donated to the family chosen by the RCMP/fire department team. In the Bruces’ case, the money will help pay for the surgery, if he receives it.

If the surgery isn’t an option, the money will help fund the special tutoring and therapy Bruce requires daily. The remaining money will be donated to the neurology department at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.

Valerie Bruce said her family is touched to be the beneficiaries of the charity hockey game, especially her son, who she said is a big hockey fan.

“Bradley is our miracle child,” she said.

“The doctors weren’t sure he’d ever walk or talk, but today he goes out to play hockey with his brothers, has a job, goes to school and is a positive, outgoing and loving kid.

“It’ll be exciting to see him smile from ear to ear because he gets to be a big part of a hockey game.”

The charity hockey game will take place at 2:30 p.m. at Red Arena at the Chestermere Recreation Centre.


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