It’s hard to believe there could be a more close knit sport than rugby. Visit a rugby clubhouse after a game and you’re bound to find opponents, who just battered each other for 80 minutes, belting out songs together and generally celebrating their recent competition. It’s something many feel sports should be all about.
This camaraderie was no more evident than at Mohawk College on Friday when a ‘rival’ Ontario College Athletic Association member presented a cheque of $3,500 to support former Mohawk rugby star Sean Corner. Corner was paralyzed in a club game in September.
Mohawk’s manager of athletics, Laurie Cahill, recently sent an email to Canadian colleges to see if they could help Corner. Humber College in Etobicoke responded in an unparalleled manner. The school’s effort was spearheaded by Daniella Cross, who heard about Sean from Humber athletic director Doug Fox. Cross, a Media Studies student at Humber’s Guelph campus, was a co-founder, player and even president of the Humber Women’s Rugby team.
“We held a pub night and a few bake sales as fundraisers and I knew some members of the Humber Students’ Federation who said they would match whatever money (the rugby team) could raise.”
The Humber/Guelph Women’s team is not a varsity squad, so it has to raise funds for itself, but Cross says Fox promised to help the team financially if they, in turn, helped Corner. Fox not only committed to that, he donated extra money to bring the total to $3,500.
Cross said, “We learned how motivated Sean was to recover and how positive he was. We were so inspired by that. We all play Rugby and we know it’s a dangerous sport and to see someone who is injured to just come out of it with such a positive attitude is just amazing for us.”
Cahill was “blown away” that another college would go out of its way to such an extent.
“I have never experienced such an act of charity within the OCAA, this so unprecedented. Doug Fox’s leadership and generosity in this circumstance speaks volumes about Doug as an individual, Daniella Cross as a student leader and Humber College as an institution. The monetary donation in support of the Corner family is significant but the spirit of Humber’s response is priceless.”
A grateful Corner described the efforts of the Humber team as “absolutely amazing. The contribution of the team, spearheaded by Daniella, really helps out. It’s incredible.”
Sean and his mother, Lorraine, indicated Humber’s donation will contribute significantly to a new sport wheelchair for Sean’s future pursuits, which currently include tennis, in his amazing recovery.
The Humber donation compliments an outpouring of support for Sean by Mohawk College and the community.