Kim Black's Story

Rod Brind'Amour & Kim Black - CRCFWho would ever have believed that a short letter I wrote to Rod Brind'Amour when I was 14 years old would lead to an annual golf tournament and auction in Campbell River, B.C., which has raised a half million dollars over the years for the CCFF. But more importantly, it began a lasting friendship between Rod and myself that means more than anything to me.

The letter was written with all the innocence of a youth seeking support for an event, which I really didn't understand other than it would bring more badly needed funds for CF research. I thought Rod might respond and come once to our event. But I never dreamt it would lead to his strong and ongoing commitment for the fight against CF.

The letter went like this:

Dec 2, 1995

Dear Mr Brind' Amour,

My name is Kim Black, and I live in Campbell River. I guess you know you're a pretty popular/famous guy here.

I'm writing to ask your help with a special event for Cystic Fibrosis. We're planning a golf tournament, which will be held at Storey Creek in June or July. It is being planned by the C.R Cystic Fibrosis chapter with help from the Kinsmen Club.

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening disease, which causes lung and digestion problems. I know only too well what this means as I live with this disease every day of my life. I'm 14 years old and am in Grade 9 at school. I take 20 to 30 pills a day, and have to do physiotherapy twice a day to help clear my lungs. I take dancing classes because I love to dance, but also because exercise is good for me.

You must work very hard to be such a good hockey player. I know you are very busy so I will understand if you are not able to help us. We would like you to be a celebrity guest for our golf tournament. Please feel free to invite your friends. We thought it would be great if you could join us. My sister Tara worked at Storey Creek last summer and said she saw you a few times when you went to golf. I really hope you will consider coming, and helping us make the golf tournament a success.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely yours,
Kim Black

From this simple letter a beautiful relationship was spawned.

Rod is a true home-grown hero who keeps his feet firmly planted on the ground and his head squarely on his shoulders. He works incredibly hard at being the best hockey player he can be by training vigorously and playing with his heart and his head. Rod was raised by supportive and loving parents who have strong family values and equally strong sense of community. While he was born in Ottawa, his family moved to Prince Rupert, B.C. and then onto Campbell River when Rod was young. He spent his Pee Wee hockey years in Campbell River (where he now considers his home town) with his dad as his first coach. He later attended Notre Dame in Saskatchewan where he honed his skills to the point that he was chosen for the NHL. His 17-year career in the NHL began in 1989 with St. Louis, then Philadelphia and currently the Carolina Hurricanes. He is well known for his strong work ethic, commitment to being in peak physical shape and grit. Rod is very humble and gracious giving his time and energy to help the CF cause.

On June 27, 2006, Rod kept a promise he had made five years ago when he was home - should his team ever win the Stanley Cup he would bring it home so that the community of Campbell River could share in his glory.

He raised the Cup high above his head to the cheers of over 5,000 people in downtown. People from up and down Vancouver Island and beyond came to help celebrate the victory of their hero, the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. I was so proud of Rod because I knew he would keep his promise.

I think Rod and I come from similar backgrounds. Our parents believe in hard work, fairness and love their children - above all else. We both believe in giving back to our communities and we both believe in fighting for what's important to us.

Rod is an excellent public speaker, leaving his audience laughing one minute and in tears the next. He uses his own experiences of personal failures and successes to motivate others. This year, Rod presented me with a bronze medal bearing his team's motto "whatever it takes". Each team member had been given the medal at the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was a symbol of their hard work together as a team. Team members were to keep it on them at all times. This gift to me represented so much love and respect that I can't begin to express how it made me feel, simply that I was overwhelmed. But Rod's greatest gift to all of us with CF is that of "time". The time he has given and continues to give to help raise funds translates into more time for those who have CF to live so we have more time with our loved ones and to accomplish what we want to do. My family, my boyfriend James and I are more grateful than Rod will ever know.

While I gain a lot of strength from Rod's support, he assures me that his courage comes from knowing how hard people with CF, like me, have to work just to get through our days.

That is the message he brings to the crowd that attends the Rod Brind'Amour CF Golf Classic and auction year after year. That is the message that helps me continue my fight and thanks to Rod and those who support the CF cause I will continue to do "whatever it takes!"

Kim is now Blogging!

Kim Black

Read Kim Black's blog, Live. Love. Breathe.