Off The Post: Leafs Twitter community grieves
In her short life, Sam made many friends through her love of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Yet the vast majority of those with whom she communicated had likely never her met her in person. And sadly, they’ll never get the chance.
Word of Sam’s passing away from cancer broke on Tuesday via Twitter, where hundreds of messages from literally were offering condolences to the woman who went by the handle @leaferbeleafer.
Many who expressed their grief weren’t even among the 713 followers listed on her Twitter profile, which proudly displays a Leafs crest silhouetted in pink and white, with an “away” background on the left side, and a “home” background on the right.
By late afternoon, the myriad of sympathetic well-wishes included the hash tag #OMGrabovski, a tag Sam frequently used in honour of her favourite player.
Tuesday’s last tweet was written by Sam’s brother @RealAliH, who included a link to Sam’s final words posted on this blog. One of the several people that @leaferbeleafer acknowledged was @leafsweetie, who offered the following insight to TMLfans.ca:
“I didn’t even know she was sick. We have tweeted back and forth but never anything personal. She did thank me for being a blood donor because she had received blood before. I just didn’t know why until today. I wish you could see the tweet history between two people so you could look back like you can on FB.”
Another of @leaferbeleafer’s friends who goes by @Leafaholic99 remembers her fondly. “The memories that I have are that she was very kind and very passioniate about the Leafs and Grabovski was her favourite player. A lot of people got #OMGrabovski trending on Twitter, as well as #GOLEAFSGOSAM.
She was only 26 years old and I will always remember how kind she was and how she always supported the Leafs and cheered on Grabovski all the time.”
The 21st century era of mobile applications has connected people from all over the globe in ways few could ever have foreseen a short time ago. The Twitter community grieves for someone they had never personally met, but had gotten to befriend, if only for just 140 characters at a time.
TMLfans.ca extends its condolences to @RealAliH and the rest of @leaferbeleafer’s friends and family.
Whether you are a Leafs fan on Twitter, the CEO of one of the world’s most famous companies, or the leader of Canada’s official opposition party in Parliament, you are not immune to the possibility of being stricken by cancer.
The losses of Sam @leaferbeleafer on Twitter, Steve Jobs and Jack Layton in recent weeks, as well as the deaths of thousands others, are a painful reminder of the extent of the merciless disease.
This past October 1st, the inaugural Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer was held at Ontario Place on Toronto’s lakeshore, with benefits helping the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Overall, 1,576 participants raised $2.4 million.
The opening ceremony included hockey personalities Don Cherry and Scott Morrison, both of whom have lost wives to cancer. The introductions were performed by Kevin Shea, who is the Associate Director, Public Relations of the PMHF.
On the windy Saturday Shea also played as a goalie for a team called the Dionne Quintuplets. Having lost his father to cancer, the author of nine hockey books had more than enough motivation to support the cause.
“Cancer is one of those diseases that are ubiquitous,” said Shea. .”One out of three of us is going to hear those words at some point. Hopefully it’s one that can be cured fairly readily, but we’ve all been touched – family, friends, colleagues, co-workers. We all love hockey, but also most of us have gone through the experience of losing someone – in my case, it was my dad.
We’ve all been touched by it, we all want to do good things, but if we can do it by playing hockey, it doesn’t get much better than that!”
Over 70 celebrities, serving as honourary captains participated in the event, including ex NHL players Jeremy Roenick, Georges Laraque and Derek Sanderson, and Olympians Alex Bilodeau, Adam Van Koeverden and Jayna Hefford.
“I lost my dad to cancer over three years ago now,” said Hefford, a three-time women’s hockey gold medalist. “It’s always nice to be able to support a cause like this that’s close to your heart.”
Jeremy Roenick summed up the entire event on behalf of all the participants. “What a blast! To raise funds for cancer research is important, but to do it by playing road hockey? Great idea!”
Visit www.teamuptoconquercancer.ca for information on registration for 2012.
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