“A jersey is just a jersey — my son’s life is a little more important than that,” said James.
The running back spent a decade in blue and gold, and he’s one of the select few chosen to be inducted into the Ring of Honour.
He’s also the only player to play in the CFL’s Grey Cup (November 28, 1959—won cup) and the NHL’s Stanley Cup (first game April 9, 1960—lost cup) in the same season.
Today, the 83-year-old lives on Vancouver Island.
James’ son has been in hospital suffering from a serious infection that will require skin replacement surgery. The former football player is looking to sell his Ring of Honour jersey to cover expenses.
“It builds up,” James said. “To offset the costs of travel and some of the other stuff we’ve been supplying for him would be helpful to us.”
James said his son’s health was uncertain for a time and the family was unsure he would pull through. On top of the emotional and mental stress, the illness has also put a financial strain on James and his wife, who have been travelling back and forth to Victoria throughout the ordeal.
“It’s hard. It was and it still is. We’ve discovered a lot of things about ourselves and our commitment to our son,” he added.
James also spent time in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and is looking to sell his hockey sweater.
While James is more than willing to part with his keepsakes, they are ones his sports family is hoping to save.
“It came as a shock and it came more of a shock that we found out his son has a medical condition that requires him to travel quite a bit,” Bomber Alumni Michael Hameluck said. “The cost of travelling back and forth is really starting to mount.”
Hameluck said James was not only one of the most prolific players the CFL has ever had, but a strong member of the community.
The Blue Bomber Alumni Association said they would be setting up a GoFundMe page and are asking fans and friends to help out the former player in his time of need. Anyone who would like to help is being directed to the group’s website where information will soon be available.
“Somebody at Gerry’s age, at 83, you just don’t have those finances available to do that. It’s heart breaking and it’s even more heartbreaking when you find out he is trying to sell off his trophies and his treasures and things that mean so much to him and his family to try to do that.”
Anyone interested in helping out can call James at 250-468-1574. The email address for the auction is email@example.com