The Ben Stelter Fund is getting a big assist from the Edmonton Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has teamed up with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation on a Mega 50/50 that will support the Ben Stelter Fund.
“We are beyond grateful and so excited that the Oilers are doing this for the fund,” Ben’s mom Lea said Wednesday.
“It means so much to us, but, more importantly, it means so much to the children fighting cancer and especially brain cancer,” she said.
“This 50/50 is huge for the fund.”
The six-year-old Oilers fan captured hearts across North America as he battled brain cancer. He passed away on Aug. 9, 2022 from an aggressive glioblastoma brain tumour.
In December, a special fund was announced to honour his life and legacy, and to support kids like Ben and their families.
The fund has four goals: magical experiences, medical equipment for families at home, outcome-based research and venture philanthropy.
“Ben got a lot of magical experiences,” his dad Mike said. “We want to help set up magical experiences for different kids, sort of to help recharge them throughout their battle and to make life-long memories.”
The fund will also help families with medical costs and finance childhood cancer research.
“There’s so much that’s not covered by Alberta Health or personal benefits and it’s so expensive,” Mike said. “We want to lessen and reduce that financial burden on the families.
“We want to do a lot of research in Canada,” he added. “Only about five per cent of cancer research funds go to pediatric cancers. We want to be the change for that. We want to make a difference, find better treatments and hopefully a cure one day for glioblastoma and other brain cancers.”
After Ben passed away, Mike and Lea talked about how they wanted to honour him, and helping other families was a top priority.
“It’s been a hard six months,” Lea said. “But our girls bring us so much joy and now this fund has given us a new purpose and a new passion and that really helps.”
“The Oilers organization has been top notch and unbelievable through everything,” Mike said. “We’re so grateful that Ben made the best friends.”
Family friend Ashif Mawji said they want the fund to help as many kids as possible.
“Every kid that’s battling cancer — their families can benefit from (it) and that’s really what we want to do.
“This will really help us get that going, and our goal — you know, Mike and Lea and my goal — is to make this like the Terry Fox thing. It shouldn’t be just an Edmonton thing; it should be a global thing.”
Mawji said Ben’s personality galvanized Oil Country — and beyond.
“Just his courage, his laughter, his giggle, his positive attitude really inspired us,” he said. “He was magnetic. You just can’t help but be attached to him.”
Mega 50/50 tickets are available on the Oilers’ website until 11 p.m. on Feb. 17.
“In support of all the kids and families like Ben’s battling cancer, we are proud to partner with the Ben Stelter Fund for the next Oilers Mega 50/50 raffle,” said Corey Smith with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.
“We encourage all Albertans to come together in support of the Ben Stelter Fund so that families have the treatment and support they need to beat childhood cancer. Let’s make sure Ben’s spirit and legacy live on forever across Oil Country.”
Prizes include Oilers and concert ticket packages, a Sandals Resort vacation package, 250,000 Aeroplan points, a jersey autographed by Leon Draisaitl and a meet-and-greet with Connor McDavid.
As an additional tribute, the Oilers will be wearing helmet decals and warmup up jerseys with “Stelter” on the back and special “Ben” patches when they host the New York Rangers on Feb. 17 at Rogers Place.