Travis Price was the kind of teen who didn't want to leave anyone out of a game and was always looking to help someone in need.
The 16-year-old collapsed on the ice in January 2004 while playing hockey with his St. John's Ravenscourt team and died from an undiagnosed cardiac condition.
Now, 15 years later, his parents have opened their hearts — and wallet — so children with cardiac problems can be better diagnosed and go on to live productive lives.
His father, Price Industries chairman and CEO Gerry Price, and his mother Barb, announced Tuesday they are donating $2 million to help build a new Children's Heart Centre and another $500,000 to help construct a new pediatric heart catheterization lab at Health Sciences Centre.
In return, a grateful Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba announced the new facility will be named the Travis Price Children's Heart Centre.
"Young children don't have a voice to ask for help," Gerry Price said. "It's up to we adults to recognize this urgent need and rally to the cause to help innocent children in need and give them and their families every chance for a normal life."
Last year the foundation announced a goal of $3.5 million to build the new facility on the fourth floor of a building constructed next to the Children's Hospital.
The current pediatric cardiology centre was constructed on the opposite side of William Avenue in the 1980s and at that time was helping 1,800 children annually.
Today more than 6,000 children are diagnosed and followed by the centre.
The fundraising goal was later increased to $10.9 million to not only add an updated cath lab, but also an equipment innovation fund, as well as ongoing funding for cardiac research at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. The new cardiac centre will also have two additional examination rooms and dedicated spaces for ultrasound, EKG testing and counselling, currently done in shared areas.
The provincial government is contributing $2.3 million and the total raised so far is more than $8.9 million. Construction is expected to begin next year.
Pallister said donations such as the one made by the Price family, as well as numerous others of differing amounts, "will save lives."
"This is a project that will aid all of us in providing state-of-the-art cardiac care for our youngest Manitobans," he said.
"By moving pediatric cardiology services to the Health Sciences Centre Diagnostic Centre of Excellence building, connecting the Children's Hospital, children will receive better care sooner, right here in Manitoba. That will lead to better outcomes for those children."
Dr. Reeni Soni, the head of the pediatric cardiology unit, said the new centre will bring all pediatric cardiology units in Manitoba under one roof "for the first time in history.
"It will allow our team to provide the best cardiac care possible," Soni said.
Gerry Price said his son was "strong and healthy."
"He was the perfect child. He was kind and honest and inclusive. He looked after those in need," Price said.
"He was a top athlete, but this sudden death syndrome happens."
Price said he and his wife received a campaign fundraising call and an hour later had decided on the amount they would donate.
"When it is urgent you act," he said. "You don't ponder and deliberate. If you don't do that the children who are innocent and have done nothing wrong in life will suffer."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.