You helped bring Carter’s football dream to life

Carter Thompson isn’t your average Stampeders fan. He’s an extreme fan. Knowing what a tough year it’s been for Carter, we approached former Stampeder Stu Laird about getting some apparel for him. Little did we know, this simple request would assume epic proportions and become the stuff of dreams.

Mom and Carter are all smiles, even in the face of adversity.

Carter is a nine-year-old boy who is one of the biggest Calgary Stampeders fans you’ll ever meet. He was born with a hereditary heart condition — the same condition that took his father’s life about year ago. As a newborn, Carter went into heart failure and his organs started shutting down. Carter received a heart transplant and for many years he was strong and healthy, but last summer, he began experiencing stomach and back pain. After a trip to the hospital, Carter was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that sometimes develops after transplant.

What followed for Carter were months of intense chemotherapy and isolation. Now in remission, Carter undergoes regular monitoring and follow-up with CT Scans, PET scans and oncology appointments. It’s been a rough road for Carter, but he’s true champion and approaches things with his usual good humour and sunny disposition.

Last December, Deb Osiowy of Kids Cancer Care approached her neighbour Stu Laird, who just happens to be a former Stamps player and one of the biggest-hearted persons you’ll ever meet.

“I told Stu about this sweet little boy named Carter and what he was going through,” says Deb, chief financial officer at Kids Cancer Care. “I told him how Carter was the biggest Stamps fan and asked Stu if he could help us get some Stamps apparel for Carter. It was Stu who took the ball and ran with it from there. I had no idea it would ever become so big.”

Carter wearing is signed Calgary Stampeders helmet with Grey Cup

Although 2018 was a tough year for Carter, it was an auspicious year too, because in November, his favourite football team would win the Grey Cup. As a former Stampeder and community leader, Stu was granted access to the Grey Cup for a narrow window of time. When Deb approached him in December, he decided then and there to share that time with Carter.

“I really just wanted to make a little boy smile,” said Stu. “I never imagined it would become such a big event, but everyone wanted to do more, so we just ran with it.”

Working with people from Kids Cancer Care, the Calgary Stampeders, Carter’s mom and teachers at École Olds Elementary School, Stu arranged to deliver the Grey Cup to Carter’s school on one of the stormiest days of the year. Although there was a slight delay on the Grey Cup handoff in Calgary, because of weather, a convoy of vehicles left Calgary for Olds in the early morning of February 11. All for Carter.

Carter and the gang before the big event

The school gymnasium and hallways were plastered with red and black banners, sporting words of hope and encouragement for Carter: “Grey Cup Party for Carter.” “We’re on Team Carter!” “Fight for Carter.”

Five hundred and thirty two children cheered as the procession filed into the gym — Carter Thompson, Ryan Sceviour, Jay McNeil and Stu Laird of the Calgary Stampeders and Deb Osiowy of Kids Cancer Care. Finally, two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, dressed in full regalia, carried in the Grey Cup. Carter was smiling from head to toe. The students thundered their applause and support.

Carter announcing he’s on “probation,” meaning remission!

While the Stampeders and Grey Cup were certainly worth celebrating, it was Carter who stole the day.

“Carter, do have some good news to share with us?” asked Randy Kish, Carter’s gym teacher and a key organizer of the event.

“I’m on probation?” Carter looked up at his teacher quizzically, unable to retrieve the correct word amid all the excitement.

“Well, it’s kind of like probation,” Randy responded. “But I think you mean remission, right?”

Carter agreed, all smiles and nods. The crowd went wild, storming their cheers and applause.

Carter’s mother Tracy Thompson couldn’t be prouder of her son: “I asked Carter how he felt the other night about the Grey Cup coming and he said, ‘Mom, it reminds me of cancer. There’s a lot of battles. It’s like that game that you have to play so hard. Knowing I’m in remission is like winning the Grey Cup.'”

Hosting the Grey Cup at their school was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It was one brutally cold morning when Albertans came together to show a little boy they care. It took a groundswell of community support and a bunch of big-hearted individuals who dared to do more – for Carter.

Carter and his grade-four class. Go #TeamCarter!

Thank you to the Calgary Stampeders and École Olds Elementary School for creating this magical day for Carter!


10 thoughts on You helped bring Carter’s football dream to life

    1. Thanks Megan! Carter is such a great kid and the Stampeders, such generous guys to make all of this possible. Glad you enjoyed the story.

    1. Thank you Margo. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the very cool teachers and administrators at Ecole Olds Elementary School. It was such a pleasure to work with you and get to know you.

  1. This is such an amazing, heartwarming story. It never ceases to amaze me what generous and caring people live in our community!
    What a thrill for Carter. What a outpouring of love and support for a child that truly deserved such an honor.
    Thank you to everyone who made this special day for one very special, deserving little guy.
    Kids Cancer Care….you are always there in every way possible to help these families affected by childhood cancer. Where would they be without you.
    THANK YOU!

    1. Patti! Thank you for sharing your generous and kind words. You are so right. We live in a world with amazingly generous and kind people. It’s such a privilege to work with so many of those people who really go out of their way to make the world a better place. Thank you for everything you do too Patti!

  2. What a beautiful, well written story about Carter. It’s amazing that he’s been able to meet so many challenges head on. If I met Carter and his family I would tell them “Your are an inspiration to anyone facing a challenge of any type. I’m in my 70’s Carter and I think I’ve learned a lot by reading your story. Thanks for letting Kids Cancer Care share it.”

    1. Hi Jane. Thank you for sharing your kind words. I will definitely pass along your comments to Carter and his family. I’m sure your warm thoughts will touch their hearts.

  3. A very interesting story, plus great photos. It was our Grandson, Ryan Sceviour, in the story. He happened to be the keeper of the Grey Cup on that day so he was asked to bring the cup to Carstairs. At the end of the day he came to our house to show the cup to his Grandpa John. John also has his own cancer journey, on his third round of treatments, also has Hodgkins Lymphoma. Congratulations Carter for being such an inspiration, never give up hope.

    1. Thank you Eileen for sharing your kind words. You must be so proud of Ryan. How generous of him to come all the way out to Olds that very COLD morning to make a little boy smile. What a coincidence that Grandpa John and Carter are battling the same cancer. It turns out that Jay McNeil, one of the former Stamps who came out, is also battling this cancer. What are the odds? I hope Grandpa John continues to fight and comes out of this journey stronger and healthier than ever.

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