“Out of something sad, has come something positive,” says Evelyn Chicoine.
In 2009, her brother Owen died from skin cancer.
He was only 21.
Owen’s sudden passing “was devastating for family, friends and the whole community,'' says Evelyn. However, they decided to use a sad event to propel a positive one.
To honor the memory of Owen, who had been a lover of sports all his life, his friends decided to host a hockey tournament and from that tournament, Win4Skin was born.
Win4Skin, now ten years old, has evolved from hockey to feature an array of annual sporting events. In addition to their annual sporting events, they also host a massive fund-raising banquet. The money they raise goes towards two things; cancer research and “remembering Owen, his spirit and his passion for sport,” says Evelyn.
The family decided that “the best way to remember Owen and honor him was to help other kids play sports,” says Evelyn. The Owen Schlosser Endowment Fund was set up to give kids access to sports who would not otherwise have the opportunity.
Through the Owen Fund, Win4Skin has provided funding for many local organizations, including Free Footie.
Free Footie is in very close alignment with what Win4Skin is trying to accomplish, and they have been a sponsor for years, raising more than fifty thousand from their generous donors. Seeing the impact that Free Footie has on children and the “comradery and community” it provides inspired Evelyn to become a sponsor herself.
“I became a sponsor because I could see the direct impact the funds were having, and I could feel it and I could be a part of it’, says Evelyn who has been a sponsor for three years now. “It should be a right of every child to have access to sports and the concept of it being inaccessible to some kids is too upsetting to ignore,'' she adds.
Evelyn has nothing but compliments for Free Footie and would “encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to try to get involved.” Being a sponsor is “the greatest investment because it’s an investment in someone’s life, their wellbeing, their self-confidence and their future”.
For Evelyn, a part of her reward is knowing that she is making a difference and doing something she knows Owen would have loved. She’s keeping her brother’s spirit alive and she knows that “if he were here he’d be astounded by the impact that his friends, family and the greater Edmonton community has had through Win4Skin and the Owen Fund on kids playing soccer and kids playing sports.”
Written by: Christina Thompson