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In 2012, Josh Hardy was killed in a skateboarding accident on the Frame Lake trail. The 18-year-old Yellowknifer was not wearing a helmet.
Now, his life, legacy and giving spirit is celebrated through Helmets for Hardy, a non-profit organization that gifts the less fortunate with life-saving headgear.
Not long after Josh’s passing his friends approached his mother Jackie Hardy with an idea: Let’s raise money to give away helmets to kids who can’t afford them.
A year later, in 2013, with funds raised from bracelet sales and the help of a couple community contributors and collaborators – including city councillor Niels Konge and Canadian Tire – the idea became a reality.
“The first year was a small year but it was good,” recalled Jackie.
From there, the organization, led by Jackie and Josh’s father, Ed, only grew.
The pair received funds raised from the Yellowknife Fire Division and the RCMP memorial hockey game in 2014, which allowed the non-profit to donate helmets to kids in Yellowknife for the next three years.
On Saturday, Helmets for Hardy will mark its seventh annual helmet giveaway.
Just last year, things weren’t looking so good for the group.
“We were basically out of funds,” said Jackie. “We were almost ready to shut it down.”
But in an act of generosity, Yellowknife’s Robinson family, through the Gary Robinson Memorial Fund and the Yellowknife Community Foundation, stepped up to help fund the sixth annual helmet giveaway.
More generosity poured in, this time from the One Hundred Men Who Give a Damn, which gave Helmets for Hardy $10,000 in order to operate for the next three years.
Helmets for Hardy aims to hand out 180 uniquely-styled helmets at this year’s event, set to take place June 15 in the parking lot at St. Joseph’s High School on Range Lake Road.
Along with giving back to the community and educating residents about preventing head injuries, Jackie said the events help keep her son Josh’s memory alive – while helping her and her family find closure.
“It’s helping us heal as well,” she said. “It’s something he probably would have enjoyed doing.”
Jackie said she’s also happy to see more kids in town wearing helmets – regardless of whether it stems from the group’s efforts, the bike rodeo or the city’s bylaw – introduced after her son’s death – to ensure kids under 18 wear helmets when out on the road.
Looking ahead, with retirement and plans to move away from Yellowknife on the horizon, Jackie is hoping another community group can take the reigns of Helmets for Hardy in the coming years.
“If we can find the right group to keep it going, we’d love to have another group take it on,” she said. “ We just want to make sure it’s done the way we created it and the way it’s intended for.”
Residents attending the seventh annual giveaway on Saturday can expect a fun-filled day packed with balloon animals, face painting and music.
At Your Service Briefs
The NWT SPCA is seeking volunteers
The NWT SPCA is seeking volunteers to sell tickets for its upcoming Summer Mega Cash Raffle. Interested Yellowknifers who can spare an hour or two are asked to volunteer their time to sell raffle tickets on Fridays at the Stanton Plaza Liquor Store ahead of the summer fundraiser.
Tickets are $50 a pop and only 100 are printed. Buyers have the chance to win $25,000 if all tickets – which can also be grabbed at the Independent Grocer and the Yellowknife Co-op at various dates throughout the summer – are sold.
Interested volunteers are asked to contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 867-447-0181. The Summer Mega Cash Raffle will take place on Aug. 31 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the 118 Falcon Rd. Engle Business District.
NWT SPCA temporarily halts intake at shelter
The NWT SPCA, a Yellowknife-based non-profit committed to strengthening the quality of life for dogs, cats and all domesticated animals in the North, announced late last week that it does not have room to take in more dogs at its city shelter.
“We do not have the room,” stated a Facebook post on June 7.
“We have 33 communities to help so it is overwhelming at times.”
However, the decision to halt intake is temporary.
The post states the society “will keep helping,” but that it needs to first arrange some adoptions to make space for newcomers.
“If you need to surrender your dog please contact us by email. It will take time but we will accept your dog,” states the Facebook post.