Paying It Forward
Stingers Slotback Raises Money for Paralyzed Child
Concordia Stingers slotback Jamal Henry has played a grand total of one game this season, as he’s been sidelined due to injury. Yet, he provided a significant contribution for his team, albeit after they defeated the Bishop’s Gaiters 63-0 on Saturday afternoon at Concordia Stadium.
Since September, the fifth-year Theology major has been raising money for a 12-year-old child named Olivier Michaud, who was born paralyzed from the waist down.
“When he was born, the doctors asked me if I wanted to keep him because of all the injuries suffered to his head,” said Olivier’s mother, Isabelle, a single parent. She takes care of Olivier, but admits it is tiring and hard to transport him, and take care of him when he is sick.
Despite his condition, Olivier enjoys participating in sports, and even completed a 21.1 km marathon in his wheelchair before finishing with the help of a walker.
Henry was on-hand to see Michaud cross the finish line.
“For Olivier, Jamal is like his big brother,” said Isabelle. “I want him to have the same chances like other kids.”
Following Saturday’s victory, Henry and his teammates posed with Olivier, who wore a Jamal Henry Concordia Stingers jersey, and they each signed a card for the child. Henry also handed Olivier’s mother a small brown envelope with over $1,000. She immediately hugged the slotback and burst into tears.
It was a hug that looked as if neither party would let go.
“It’s incredible,” Isabelle continued. “It touches me right in the heart. It’s a really beautiful gesture.”
Originally, Henry wished to raise $4,000 for a lift to help Michaud get around. Instead, Henry raised funds in order for Michaud to continue to participate in sports, including bocce ball, a sport Olivier enjoys. Donations came from Henry’s GoFundMe page and from friends and Stingers teammates.
“I think Jamal is a stand-up guy,” said Henry’s teammate and Stingers quarterback Trenton Miller. “Helping out someone like Olivier with day-to-day stuff is invaluable.”
“The Stingers have had a role in changing this family’s life,” said Henry.
Henry says that they plan on raising between $500 and $1,000 more through a raffle.
“He inspires me to be a better person,” said Henry. “From the first time I met with him, I fell in love.
“I just want to do as much as I can for [the family], because I can run, I can do everything but [Olivier] can’t,” he continued. “I’m going to do everything I can in my power and God’s going to help me do it to help him and his family,
“I’m going to hold them close to my heart for the rest of my life,” said Henry.
If you wish to donate to Jamal Henry’s GoFundMe for Olivier Michaud, go to https://www.gofundme.com/theliftforolivier
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