Flames player draws attention to deadly disease
robin kuniski/for metro calgary
White water bottles with blue lids became the rage Sunday night as Calgary Flames assistant captain Robyn Regehr mingled with minor hockey players, to spread the message of meningitis’ potentially lethal effect.
"It’s a very dangerous and potentially fatal disease," Regehr said in the Saddledome lobby, flanked by dozens of youngsters looking for an autograph or a quick chat while they took part in target practice with blaze orange pucks. "I was lucky not to have it as a kid and I hope no one gets it because it’s potentially lethal."
Across Canada, only 400 cases of bacterial meningitis are reported every year and awareness of the disease, said pediatrician Dr. Peter Nieman, is of utmost importance.
"It’s pretty serious business," said Nieman. "It’s rare, but serious. It can do a lot of damage very fast. It’s like anything else in life where you get the message out there and people can decide what they want to do to prevent it."
Something as simple as carrying your own water bottle to a hockey game or refusing to share anything that has touched someone else’s lips may prevent the spread of meningitis, which is why the Flames hulking defenceman helped hand out hundreds of water bottles yesterday at the Saddledome.
And he hopes the message he helped pass on gets spread like wildfire.
"Just the fact that you can mix in having fun with the kids here with the shooting of the pucks and yet still talk to them a bit, give them the bottle and that way, they can tell their friends about it when they get to school or hockey practice or some kind of sports practice and I think that would be the best."