Seemann stirs up fundraising spirits
Bonded by sport: Wolves’ captain spearheads campaign to help fellow CCAA basketball star stricken with cancer
Herald-Tribune sports writer
Sometimes that final result on the scoreboard really is secondary.
That never became more true than when Jenn Seemann learned of the plight of Carling Muir.
It was back in January when the veteran forward of the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves women’s basketball team learned that Muir - a member of the Langara College Falcons in Vancouver - had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
On Nov. 20, 2006, Muir collapsed to the gym floor with two grand mal seizures and was rushed by ambulance to Vancouver General Hospital.
Doctors discovered Muir’s seizures were related to an egg-sized tumor.
She returned to action this past season and currently leads the British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association in scoring (18.8 points-per-game average) and is fourth in rebounding (8.8 average).
It didn’t matter that the two players had never met face-to-face. Seemann decided to help her fellow basketball player raise funds to battle the disease while Muir bravely continued playing.
Two months and $1,282 of local donations later, the Swan City hoops scene has given Muir a little something more to fight for.
“We’re going to do it every year,” said Seemann, who wrapped up her fifth year with the Wolves this past season, making her the first five-year player in GPRC’s history. “I’m really happy with how much recognition the project got because it’s going to help it get bigger and better.”
Seemann said she originally expected donations to come from just her Wolves teammates.
Suddenly, a whole lot of other locals stepped up to contribute when they found out about the cause.
It was a pleasant – though unexpected – surprise.
“I knew my teammates would back me up, but I didn’t realize all the schools and businesses in the area would turn it into a big of a deal as it did,” said Seemann. “I would have never expected it to become that big.”
Langara College athletic director Clayton Munro attended last week’s GPRC Festival of Gold, applauding both Muir for her fight against the disease as well as the Wolves for offering to pitch in and lend a hand.
“Carling is a very inspirational person,” said Munro. “She inspires everyone in our institution and in the local community. I can’t say enough about her. She’s a great ambassador of our program.
“On the other side of it, to see someone like Jenn and the leadership she has shown and the care and kindness she has shown, it’s amazing. For someone that hasn’t even met Carling to step forward and do the things she did speaks volumes for the type of person she is. Francois (Fournier, Wolves athletic director) said Jenn is an example of what every Wolves player should be, but really she’s an example of what every Canadian Colleges Athletic Association player should be.
“She’s a remarkable athlete and person. We’re really happy Langara has this connection with Grande Prairie and I think it’s a connection that will bond us for a very long time.”
When Muir was first diagnosed with the disease, the response locally was strong, said Munro.
“We had tremendous support. We got e-mails and flowers, it was amazing. The CCAA is a very classy association. We may be competing on the court, but we genuinely care about our members.”
Then came the call from Grande Prairie that caught everyone at Langara off-guard.
“I had the opportunity to tell Carling that a school in Grande Prairie wanted to help her fundraise ... she gave me a puzzled look,” said Munro. “I didn’t think she knew where Grande Prairie was, but she did. She couldn’t fathom that people who didn’t even know her could care to go to this length to help her. She was so surprised and so touched. She couldn’t believe it.”
Since contact has been made between the two colleges, the mood in the battle for Muir’s cause has been upbeat.
“It’s been really fun,” said Munro. “Rarely do you get a opportunity to work on initiatives like this when we’re so busy with other day-to-day things. These are the sort of things that for an athletic director – and I think Francois would say the same – you get excited about. So despite it being a very challenging illness she’s suffering, to see so many positive things come from it gives you a lot of hope.”