May 31, 2008
Globe and Mail
Some mourning Vancouver Canucks fans have found their own way to honour Luc Bourdon.
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has seen a flurry of donations since the motorcycle crash in New Brunswick on Thursday that claimed the 21-year-old defenceman’s life.
Most of the donation amounts have involved the number 28, the jersey Bourdon wore with the Canucks.
“What are the odds of someone making a $28 or $280 or $2,800 donation out of the blue?” Canuck Place chief executive officer Filomena Nalewajek said yesterday. “This is people’s way of saying we really understand the connection between the Canucks and Canuck Place and this is the way we want to express our grief.”
Less than two days after Bourdon’s accident, Canuck Place, which provides specialized palliative care for children living with a life-threatening illness, had received almost 200 donations totalling more than $7,000 – all involving the number 28 in some capacity.
The money has come in from around the world, with people in the United States, Sweden, Great Britain and New Zealand among those making a donation.
Bourdon’s uncle, Robert Boucher, expressed gratitude to those honouring his nephew’s memory.
“I’m grateful that people are thinking about Luc like that,” he said yesterday.
For Canucks fan Byron Ribble, the donation provided an opportunity to show his support.
“I personally donated $28 as a small gesture of respect to Luc and his family,” Ribble said. “It’s a nice way to contribute something positive in relation to a tragic situation.”
Another fan added on the NHL team’s official message board: “It’s difficult to grieve properly for someone you don’t know personally. I think by donating the money [it’s] a gesture of mourning for our fallen hero.”
The Canucks’ organization is aware of the donations, but has yet to determine whetherf it will launch some sort of formal fundraising campaign.
While some have said Bourdon was shy and reserved, Nalewajek remembers the young man coming out of his shell at a Canuck Place charity event this year.
“He was one of the rookies that did a little bit of a dance competition at the very end [of the event] and he actually won,” Nalewajek said. “He was the highlight of the event, as far as I was concerned, and all of us kept talking about it for days.”
Bourdon became a Canuck Place favourite after the dance, which Nalewajek could only describe as “uninhibited,” and the organization had planned to have him come in to carve pumpkins at Halloween.
Some of the kids had specifically asked for him.
“We’d been planning to do that, but, sadly, now we’re not going to have that opportunity,” Nalewajek said.