When we told Cassius, Allison and Chrissie, who live in Williams Lake, Quesnel and Anahim Lake, respectively, that they would be taking a cross-country trip to meet Carey Price (click here to read the press release), they had mixed emotions. So many unknowns and first-time experiences awaited them! Packing their bags, answering their friends’ questions, taking a plane, being in the big city, meeting their favourite hockey player in real life…. When you think about it, it makes sense, and is completely normal, that they felt both happy and overwhelmed at the same time.
“Cassius invested himself in a positive way throughout his trip; you couldn’t wipe the smile off this face! He was excited about every activity we had planned, asked lots of questions and got to know all about the places he visited. He didn’t want to leave! On his return home, he even said, “When I grow up, I’m going to move to Montreal!” He also developed a strong bond with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, with whom he had a lot of fun while discovering they have many common interests. Not surprisingly, Cassius also LOVED watching the game from the private box, claiming: “I feel like an important, famous person!” And that’s what he was!”
Chrissie: When Chrissie arrived in Montreal, she was shy and soft-spoken. But it didn’t take long for her to come out of her shell, become attached to the adults around her and shine during every organized activity. Even though she didn’t know how to skate, this didn’t stop her from getting out on the ice and quickly forming a bond with Angela and Carey. She was beaming with pride when she gave them the Habs-coloured dream catcher her grandmother had made. It was a very touching moment, given Carey’s pride in his own Aboriginal roots and strong attachment to the people of Anahim Lake, Chrissie’s home town. They really made a connection. Over the few days we had together, we saw many positive changes in Chrissie. No longer the shy little girl who got off the plane, she became vivacious, smiling and happy!
Once the initial storm of emotions had cleared, we were able to see that our young travelers were true chameleons. Within just a few hours of arriving, they were comfortably strolling down Montreal’s city streets, making jokes and becoming Marco Polo superstars in the hotel pool. Which just goes to show that, no matter where our children come from or what life has in store for them, there’s nothing more heartwarming than to witness the simple joy and wonder with which they greet the world, hearts and minds open and welcoming… A humbling experience for grownups who often lose sight of what really matters in life.
“Allison is an avid sports fan who plays on her school’s hockey team. Her ultimate goal: to score on Carey Price. And she did it not once, but six times! She was feverish with excitement upon arriving at the Bell Centre and couldn’t wait to meet Carey. While they chatted in the locker room, Allison gave him a photo album from the Breakfast Club at her school in Quesnel, where she and her mother volunteer every morning—something that makes Allison very proud. And her mother, who was with us in Montreal, said that the trip was a positive, life-changing experience that they both really needed!”
Back home after a few days in Montreal, Cassius, Allison and Chrissie will cherish the memories of their trip to the big city, ready to tackle life’s challenges and make their wildest dreams come true.