Jamie Platz YMCA 4.75

7121 178 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5T 5T9
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About Jamie Platz YMCA

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The YMCA of Northern Alberta creates life-enhancing opportunities for the growth and development of all people in spirit, mind and body.

The Story of Jamie Platz | April 15, 1975 – May 10, 1987

Jamie Platz was born April 15th 1975. At 18 months old the doctors discovered he had a spinal tumor. Nevertheless, he was a brave young boy with an uncanny wisdom who lived a lifetime in a few short years. Jamie was a lover of all animals, the Edmonton Oilers, a good joke or a trick and had a great compassion for children in less fortunate countries.

He spent much time in the hospital until age 5. At age 6 he attended regular school and enjoyed the outdoors. He was fond of his motor trike, camping, and fishing and especially enjoyed getting muddy. Jamie had a dog named Sandy who was adopted at the S.P.C.A. The two were soul mates. Sandy would lean into Jamie to give him balance and eventually became Jamie’s crutch and eyes when he became blind.

In 1985, Jamie required treatment which could only come from a hospital in Mexico. This procedure along with the expense of flights, accommodation and meals would be quite costly. Eddie Keen a journalist for the Edmonton Sun heard about Jamie and was so impressed by Jamie’s courage and positive nature, he wrote an article revealing the seriousness of his illness, how he had endured 68 operations by the age of 10, and how he required this hopeful treatment that could possibly extend his life. There were many people who donated $5000.00 towards this great cause from reading this article. Peter Pocklington the owner of the Edmonton Oilers read this article and was so touched that he said he would donate whatever money was required that wasn’t covered by the $5000.00 donation. He also heard that Jamie was a huge Oiler fan so he gave the Platz family tickets to the Edmonton/Chicago Stanley Cup playoff game and invited Jamie into the dressing room. Jamie was so excited and nervous to meet the team. After building up enough courage he finally went into the dressing room to meet the team and especially his idol Wayne Gretzky. When it was time for the team to go out onto the ice Jamie gave them a word of encouragement “Pull up your skirts and start skating”. The team cheered, went out and won the game. They proceeded to win the Stanley cup. Jamie became close friends with the Oilers team especially with Gretzky who visited Jamie often.

Everyone was always amazed at the determination and courage Jamie showed while living with his life threatening medical problems, some of which were experimental and very painful. During his short life, Jamie endured 72 operations for the spinal cancer which lead to a tumor behind his eye and eventually a brain tumor. Through all of this Jamie would still smile, and with the help of many individuals was able to encourage and touch the hearts of many people. Jamie’s life ended on May 10th 1987 (Mother’s Day). He was 12 years old. His dog Sandy passed away six years later on the exact same day.

When fund raising began to build a YMCA facility in the West end of Edmonton, one of the donors was Peter Pocklington who contributed 1 million dollars. Because of his large contribution he was asked if he would like to name the building. Peter accepted this with great honor and took the opportunity to recognize his young friend, hence the name “Jamie Platz YMCA”. Jamie Platz is a symbolic example of the YMCA values.

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