Spend any time around Guelph Storm captain Garrett McFadden and you’ll see why he’s earned the mantle of team leader. The 2017 OHL Humanitarian of the Year, McFadden – a native of Kincardine, Ontario – has become a champion for mental health during his time with the Storm, raising over $7,000 for CMHA Waterloo Wellington in the past three years.
On Friday, March 2nd, McFadden added to that tally once again, presenting a $10,000 cheque to CMHA Waterloo Wellington through his campaign, McFadden’s Movement, and raising his fundraising total to over $17,000 to date – a way to give back to the City of Guelph, the Storm captain says.
Having lost a close family friend, Wes Cameron, to suicide in 2011, McFadden has turned his experience of loss into a motivator for change, speaking with youth about the importance of mental health and launching McFadden’s Movement, a campaign that strives to change, help, and develop mental health among athletes starting at the grassroots level.
“I want athletes to realize they don’t need to ‘tough things out’ just because they are supposed to be more durable than the average person,” says the Storm captain. “I want to raise awareness and show that there are support systems for people who need it most.”
As part of McFadden’s outreach, he has invited a McFadden’s Movement Ambassador of the Game to each Guelph Storm home game, meeting individuals from the Guelph area and beyond who have become advocates for mental health in their own right.
“We’re so proud of Garrett for the champion he has become,” says Fred Wagner, executive director of CMHA Waterloo Wellington. “To see the way he has embraced the cause as his own and become a leader for mental health advocacy in our community is inspiring.”
The $10,000 donation was made possible by a $6,300 contribution from the Stephanie Gaetz Foundation. The funds will support CMHA Waterloo Wellington’s initiatives in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Photo credit: Gar Fitzgerald.