Wheelchair basketball event to raise funds in memory of former student

Students from Niagara College’s Recreation and Leisure Services program are going through hoops in memory of a former student.

The students are not only organizing the Jonathan Morrison Memorial Award Wheelchair Basketball Fundraiser, some of them are revving up to participate in the game. As part of the Jonathan Morrison Memorial Award Wheelchair Basketball Fundraiser to take place on Saturday, December 5, a team of students from the program will take on the Brock Niagara Penguins – a wheelchair basketball team for people with special needs – on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The event is being organized by the College’s RLS students as part of their Fundraising and Revenue Generation class, to support the Jonathan Morrison Memorial Award. Morrison, who was a student in the College’s RLS program and played for the Brock Niagara Penguins, had spina bifida and died of cancer in July 2015. The new memorial award will grant $500 to a student each year who has overcome momentous barriers in order to graduate from the College’s RLS or Recreation Therapy programs.

“He was a great guy and the students loved him,” said instructor and placement officer Devin Richardson. “The students were able to select the charity and it was only fitting they did a basketball tournament.”

Second-year RLS student Jasmine Olah, who is organizing as well as playing at the event, met Morrison four years ago while she was enrolled in the College’s Recreation Therapy program.

“I am grateful to be involved in raising funds in his name. Jonathan was such a cherished individual by so many on campus and within the community. He was seen as such an inspiring leader and role model,” she said. “It’s such an amazing sport and Jonny’s involvement with the Brock Niagara Penguins makes the fact that we are playing in a game mean that much more.”

As the communications lead speaking on behalf of student organizers, Olah has also found it to be a valuable educational experience.

“There are so many elements that go into planning and running an event such as this one; budgeting, marketing, communications, etc. It is real life hands-on experience,” she said. “As with any new experience, there was a lot to learn and I will be using these lessons to build upon my current skill set.”

“Our Fundraising and Revenue Generation class is taking on a big task by raising funds for worthwhile causes in our community and world abroad,” said Richardson. “These students have tremendous passion and I feel there is no better way to gain an experience than to contribute first-hand in the design and delivery of these amazing fundraisers.”

Captain of the Brock Niagara Penguins Loretta Davis said the team is proud to support the Jonathan Morrison Memorial Award, and that the athletes are honoured and excited to play in this game in Jonny’s memory.

“Jonny ‘Hotwheels’ Morrison was a valued member of the Brock Niagara Penguins wheelchair basketball team for six years,” she said. “Jonny was the type of person who could always make you laugh and smile. He was a team player, was always encouraging to all players, and an excellent role model for our younger athletes.”

The team is remembering Morrison with a sticker bearing his name and jersey number that will remain on every athlete’s chair with his name and jersey number. These stickers can be purchased at the game and proceeds will go to the memorial award.

The event will take place on Dec. 5 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brock University Bob Davis Gymnasium.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information visit http://www.facebook.com/Hoops4Jonny.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit http://NiagaraCollege.ca.

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Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Niagara College
905 735-2211 ext. 7773
905 328-4101 (cell)

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Niagara College
905 735-2211 ext. 7368
905-328-2532 (cell)