Theoren Fleury will be the guest speaker at a fundraiser benefiting local agencies providing support to children and adults impacted by sexual violence.
The former Calgary Flame and author of Playing with Fire — in which he alleges he was sexually abused by his junior hockey coach Graham James — will share his story at Passionate Forward on Saturday.
“The event itself is raising funds and awareness about sexual assault against children in our province,” said Tara Heppell, fund development manager for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
“Yeah, him coming in to speak of his experiences and as an advocate of change in that direction is, I think, a big draw.”
This is the third installment of Passionate Forward, an event that is organized by local resident Skye Wikjord and was last held two years ago.
All money raised at the event will be evenly split between the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Central Alberta Crisis Centre.
Heppell said they hope to raise $10,000 at the event for each agency.
“The event is going to be important from the shelter’s position because it’s raising funds for our child support department,” Heppell said.
“For the Crisis Centre, they’re doing very important work for our community in terms of providing support to families who are experiencing that, and to individuals of course.”
She added that one in four Alberta children are victims of sexual abuse, an experience that often causes the victim to feel great shame and leads to social, mental and physical issues in adulthood.
“We really need the community to support this, to support kids in our community,” Heppell said of Passionate Forward.
In addition to Fleury’s speech, the evening event will include appetizers, dinner, musical entertainment courtesy of Laws of Attraction and Joelle Gilmour, as well as a dance hosted by TJ the DJ.
So far, 75 tickets have been purchased but Heppell said another 60 need to be sold to sell out the event being held in Springbrook.
Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased by calling Heppell at 403-346-5308, extension 103.