For the month of October, the Fernie Ghostriders will sport black and pink jerseys, complete with the recognizable cancer ribbon, to raise money for a local charity.
The team will auction off the jerseys after the month is over, and all of the money raised will go towards Fernie’s Friends for Friends charity. Friends for Friends was founded two years ago by Fernie locals Chris and Shelley Moulton.
Shelley is a two-time Leukemia survivor and when she was on the mend after her first bout with the illness, the couple took to fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) as a way to give back after the support she received.
When she was faced with the illness the second time around, she was no longer eligible for funding from the CCS (regardless of the fact she and her husband raised close to $40,000 for the organization through years of fundraising efforts).
Despite the lack of available funding, the couple was able to get through the ordeal.
“When she was sick and we were going through some really tough times, the community really stepped up to show us a lot of love and support,” Chris Moulton said. “Through all that, my wife Shelley and I decided that we wanted to give back so we started the charity.”
Not everyone qualifies for help from the CCS, something Moulton and his wife felt was unfair.
“We just thought that if you’re going through Hell, you should get help,” he said. “It’s bad enough you have to deal with cancer on a daily basis, you shouldn’t have to worry about how your bills are getting paid or how you’re getting to appointments or who’s going to cook you dinner or who’s going to clean your house.”
It’s been two years, and the 100 per cent volunteer-run charity has fundraised between $80,000 and $100,000 to date, helping upwards of 40 Fernie residents in the process.
Having a local charity specifically geared towards helping locals was important to the couple, considering they were never sure where all of the funds they raised for the CCS had gone.
“We never knew where the money was going, so we thought what better way to do this than raise it ourselves and not pay anybody and do everything and put every penny back into the community, for Fernie residents only, so that’s what we did.”
Along with the Moultons, there are five women who also sit on the charity’s board as volunteers.
“We try to find people in the community who need help, who are going through the treatments, and then we try to help them emotionally, financially through support from everything from money to gas cards to grocery cards to cleaning the houses, giving rides to appointments,” Moulton said, adding he and his wife really focus on the emotional support side of things.
“Shelley and I do a lot of talking to people because we’ve been through it.”
Moulton is a former coach of the Ghostriders and is heavily involved in the hockey world, so having the hockey team on board was a fairly seamless occurrence.
“We’ve just always had a tie to the Ghostriders, so it was a perfect fit,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of what they do for us, for sure.”
Moulton said the charity wouldn’t exist without the help from the community.
“We work hard to raise money, but truthfully, the businesses and the people in the community have stepped up and we’d be nowhere without the people in Fernie,” he said.
“We do our little fundraisers and it’s a great thing, but the businesses that keep raising money for us, it’s them that are helping us be successful; without them, we wouldn’t have anything.”
Ghostriders’ coach, Craig Mohr, said helping raise funds for the charity was a no-brainer.
“You couldn’t pick a better family,” Mohr said of the Moultons. “They started this to help other families, it’s unbelievable.”
To find out more information about the charity, visit Fernie Friends for Friends on Facebook.