Alex Meseman has seen the effects of heart problems first-hand, and he’s ready to make a difference.
The 2011 graduate of Murdoch MacKay Collegiate has seen his grandfather, Gordon, confined to a wheelchair after suffering four heart attacks, and has seen his 15-year-old brother, Liam Deighton, have his life turned upside down after being diagnosed with an enlarged heart.
"He’s had to quit sports," Meseman said. "He loved to play hockey."
Meseman knows he isn’t going to slip on a lab coat and find a cure for heart disease, but he is going to see how much money he can raise for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.
The former Murdoch MacKay basketball point guard, along with varsity boys coach Chris Fossen, is organizing "The Hoop and the Harm," a fundraising game between this year’s Clansmen team and a group of alumni led by Meseman.
The game will be played on May 8 at 6 p.m. at the Redonda Street school, with a minimum donation of $5 required for admission.
"I was sitting there watching the last game of (this year’s team’s) season, and came up with the idea," said Meseman, who lives in Transcona. "I was thinking I wanted to do something for charity to raise money for the cause and to raise awareness."
Gordon Meseman will be on the alumni team’s bench as their coach, as at least six former Clansmen and some of Meseman’s club teammates take on the current edition of the school’s team.
Fossen, a Murdoch MacKay alum who’s been coaching at the school for eight years, said the current players are looking forward to the game for a number of reasons.
"They’re pretty excited to help out with the cause, and to play one last game together since they’re almost all Grade 12s," Fossen said.
The coach himself is looking forward to catching up with some former players he hasn’t seen too often since they graduated.
Meseman, who was expecting to play for Lakeland College in Lloydminster, Alta. this year before an injury prompted him to return home to Winnipeg, said he’s hoping to raise at least $1,000 from the event.
Three local restaurants — Deseo Bistro, The Grove, and Deer + Almond — have donated gift cards that will be raffled off at the game.
The players, as well as some lucky fans, will have a chance to compete in a halftime three-point shooting contest, with the winner receiving an NBA jersey.
And a representative from the Heart and Stroke Foundation will be on hand to tell people where their donations will be going.
"People need to know how much something like this can change a person’s life," Meseman said. "Anyone can have heart problems, like my brother. With enough research, hopefully he can live a normal life."