Working with Olympians Brad Spence (alpine skiing) and Sam Edney (luge), Chris created a national media strategy to launch Helmets for Heroes – a special project Spence conceived last year when he met Calgary Osteosarcoma patient Gillian O’Blenes-Kaufman during a community outreach visit to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Recognizing her incredible artistic talent, Spence asked O’Blenes-Kaufman to design and paint the helmet he wore to compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Sadly, O’Blenes-Kaufman lost her battle with cancer on Monday evening.
Edney, a three-time Olympian himself, was the second in what Spence hopes to be a long list of Canada’s high-performance athletes to take part in Helmets for Heroes.
“I looked at my friends from different Olympic sports and I realized all of their helmets are blank canvases that could tell powerful stories, and also better connect an athlete with the community,” said Spence prior to the program’s launch.
The mission was to launch the Helmets for Heroes Foundation with the goal of raising money for children battling life-threatening diseases while also generating awareness for helmet safety.
Spence introduced Edney to Richard Flamenco – a young artist who was diagnosed with EpidermolysisBullosa, which causes painful blistering of the skin. Flamenco has spent the majority of his life at the Alberta Children’s Hospital where he receives treatment focused on addressing the symptoms of this incurable disease. It was through the Hospital’s art program that Flamenco discovered his artistic talents.
Chris guided Spence, Edney and Flamenco through a national media launch just days before the Luge World Cup in Calgary. With significant media attention already garnered, Edney became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup luge race – and Flamenco was a the finish line to witness it.