Tragically, Mike’s dreams were cut short in 2002 when, within the short span of 29 hours, he was felled and taken from his family and friends by an insidious killer, bacterial meningitis.
On Saturday May 1, 2010 my 15 year-old daughter and I had the honor and privilege of witnessing the full measure of the impact of Mike’ life on his friends and family.
The grounds of Ingersoll Collegiate High School roared out Mike’s memory in the form of spirited music, a BBQ and over 40 road hockey teams with enthusiastic participants from as far away as Ottawa and supportive volunteers and friends from the surrounding area.
I was honored to act on behalf of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada to receive a donation in Mike’s name and equally inspired by the community spirit, solidarity and outpouring of love for a fallen brother, friend, teammate and son that I experienced during my visit.
Since 2002, passionate volunteers close to Mike’s family and dedicated to educating others about meningitis awareness and prevention – have spent countless hours organizing the annual Mike Maxwell 3 on 3 Memorial Road Hockey Tournament.
The ongoing generosity of local businesses has enabled the volunteers to run a first-rate raffle of a variety of quality items to raise thousands of dollars in Mike’s memory in order to: provide a bursary at Mike’s former high school, donate funds to the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada and, hopefully, one day fund the resurfacing of the tennis courts on which the teams play and add another surface pad to help grow the tournament.
I can think of no better way to spend a weekend – playing and watching ‘Canada’s game’ amidst family and friends and supporting a profoundly meaningful cause that speaks to the heart and soul of anyone who has had to endure the vicious sting of invasive meningococcal disease.
What a marvelous way to turn a tragedy into a triumph, inspire hope in the community and pay tribute to the memory of Mike Maxwell.
Photos: J. Redfearn