18-year-old heart transplant recipient to play in charity hockey game named after his donor

Fifth annual Marit Cup celebrates legacy of student for Calgary friends and family

What: To celebrate the legacy of Marit McKenzie, who passed away on Jan. 28, 2013 as a result of a pulmonary embolism, more than 400 students and teachers from Calgary Christian School will be participating in the fifth annual Marit Cup – a students vs. teachers hockey game with the purpose of raising money for the David Foster Foundation and Right To Play.

This year, the student who received Marit’s heart, Tanner Fitzpatrick will be flying out from Newfoundland to join Calgary Christian School students on the ice to play in the game to honour Marit’s life legacy. In addition, Mark Klassen, who has one of Marit’s kidneys and her pancreas, will be at the game for the second year in a row.

Why: Marit’s last gift was to make her end of life wishes known to her family, and have her organs for transplant to those in need. Her heart, liver, pancreas, and both kidneys were transplanted in four separate surgeries. In addition, two individuals were given the gift of sight following successful cornea transplants, and tendons and bone tissue were preserved, and will be used for reconstructive surgery at a later date. Marit’s unexpected passing in 2013 lead to thousands of dollars in donations to the David Foster Foundation in her honour, and continues to inspires other to become registered organ donors.  

When: Tuesday, March 28 from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Where: Winsport, Markin MacPhail Arena, 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary, AB

Schedule of events:

  • 10 a.m. – Puck Drop & on-ice introduction of dignitaries at Canada Olympic Park, Markin MacPhail Arena
  • 11:30 a.m. – Trophy Presentation 

Available for Interviews:

  • Bruce & Susan McKenzie – Marit’s parents
  • Trudy, Phil and Tanner Fitzpatrick – parents and receipient of Marit’s heart (backgrounder attached)
  • Mark Klassen – receipient of Marit’s kidney and pancreas
  • Allison Jones – David Foster Foundation Board of Director, and daughter of David Foster
  • Lara Knudsen – David Foster Foundation Director of Family Relations
  • Ken DeWyn – Executive Director, Calgary Society for Christian Education
  • Lloyd Boody – Secondary Principal, Palliser Regional Schools

Photo and Video Opportunities:

9:30 to 10 a.m.                   Pre-game ceremonies, including: introduction of Marit’s family and Tanner Fitzpatrick and family, Mark Klassen, representatives from the David Foster Foundation, and ceremonial puck drop

10 to 11:30 a.m.                Two period hockey game, half-time show, and trophy presentation

Additional Information:

  • CCS has challenged the other Calgary Palliser Regional High Schools to an organ donation challenge – prizes are two $250 scholarships per school from the Marit McKenzie endowment fund.
  • A video covering Marit’s story is available online: http://bit.ly/MaritMcKenzie.
  • In March 2013, the first annual Marit Cup raised more than $15,000 for the David Foster Foundation and for scholarships for students in southern Alberta.
  • The first three Marit Cup events and donations made to the David Foster Foundation in Marit’s memory have raised more than $53,000
  • Jake Elmer, CCS student who currently plays for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice will play in the game
  • As part of the graduation requirements at CCS, every grade 12 student completes a senior project and the intention of these projects is for students to give back to the community in a way that fits their passions and interests.
  • For Marit’s senior project, she raised awareness and money for the David Foster Foundation, which helps in providing financial support to Canadian families with children in need of life saving organ transplants.
  • The David Foster Foundation has assisted close to 1,000 Canadian families with children in need of major organ transplants and provided millions of dollars in direct family support.
  • Since 1986, the David Foster Foundation has assisted more than 1,000 Canadian families with children waiting for organ transplants.

ABOUT THE DAVID FOSTER FOUNDATION

David Foster is a proud Canadian, Recipient of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Order of Canada, 50-time nominee and 16-time Grammy Award winner (including three for Producer of the Year), three time Oscar nominee, Golden Globe winner, seven time Juno Award winner, Emmy award winner and has the distinguished honour to have his star on both the Canadian and Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the man behind the biggest hits, with more than half a billion records sold. In 2015, the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria recognized Foster as their Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

Foster launched the David Foster Foundation in his hometown of Victoria in 1986. Across Canada, the David Foster Foundation financially supports families for all non-medical expenses while their children are undergoing lifesaving organ transplants. Thanks to its annual fundraising efforts and the generous support of national partners like TELUS, WestJet, Aird & Berlis LLP, Schnitzer, and Hope Air families receive support for expenses incurred when travelling away from their homes to be with their child during transplant.

In 2014, the Slaight Family Foundation, Newton Glassman Foundation in partnership with Catalyst Capital Group Inc., Jim & Sandi Treliving, and Tan Sri Dr. Francis Yeoh joined TELUS as the Foundation’s $1M Life Legacy members.

The Foundation also promotes organ donor awareness and registration in both Canada and the United States. For more information, visit www.davidfosterfoundation.com.