Monday, June 24, 2024

Louis-Riel HS reaches fundraising target for athlete battling leukemia, celebrates with staff pie-in-the-face

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By Dan Plouffe

While several of their teams were off competing at OFSAA spring high school provincial championships, the Louis-Riel Rebelles achieved a big goal back at home when it surpassed its fundraising objective in support of a student-athlete with leukemia.

The school announced at a celebration on June 7 that it had collected $14,800 through its “LR pour Caro” fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. That eclipsed the $13,000 goal they’d set in honour of hockey player Caroline Courchesne’s jersey number 13.

“Everyone really took it to heart,” underlines Laurence Morissette, who coached the Louis-Riel girls’ hockey team to an OFSAA title in March, shortly before Courchesne’s diagnosis. “Hats off to my colleagues and all the students at the school and their families. The whole community here supported us throughout the fundraiser.

“Yes, we had a goal for how much money we wanted to raise, but everything that it created around it – the way students rallied – I think that’s something even bigger.”

Courchesne is a member of the school’s high-performance hockey program, where participants are used to training hard and pushing their limits, which made it difficult for the athletes to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis that was beyond their control.

The fundraiser gave them the chance to get behind Courchesne in their way, notes Morissette, while the funds collected went towards research and equipment for CHEO’s oncology program.

Courchesne, who is awaiting test results to find out what’s next in her treatment, shared that the school’s efforts give her a big boost in her battle.

Read More: Louis-Riel HS holding month-long CHEO fundraiser to support champion hockey player battling leukemia

“Caro’s family supports her a lot too,” adds Morissette. “Sometimes it seems to be going super well, and other times, there’s a drop – it’s a bit of rollercoaster she’s on at the moment, but she keeps her smile despite what she’s living through, and she has incredible morale, and that gives us a lot of energy.”

Home to a specialized sports-études program, Louis-Riel is a school that shows its passion for sports every day, though the fundraiser finale revealed a new school passion: pie-in-the-face.

Several staff members volunteered to take the messy attacks if the fundraising goal was met. The most treasured target was Jean-Robert Léger, with students eager to get back at the school’s strength and conditioning coach who’s usually in change of delivering plenty of pain on them.

“That was a lot of fun,” smiles Morissette. “The students were really looking forward to the pie in the face. It definitely gave them something to be excited to come to school for.”

Louis-Riel’s population has grown immensely in recent years, yet the fundraiser showcased how the school still comes together behind each individual student, staff signal.

“Obviously when we go from 700 to close to 1,500, the dynamic at a school can be different, but this really promoted a feeling of belonging, and pride in being a Rebelle and being at Louis-Riel,” Morissette highlights. “We succeeded and we’re really happy with how everything rolled out. It was a lot of work, but we made it in the end.”


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