Donate/Buy Sports Memorabilia for a Cause: Dojo Student Launches Website to Support Disaster Relief

The following post is from Coding Dojo student Ben Sharf who recently launched a website to support disaster relief in the town of Fort McMurray. He lived in Fort McMurray before coming to Coding Dojo and wanted to help out his friend and hockey coach both of whom lost homes in the wildfires. Ben is combining his love of coding and sports to raise money for the victims of the wildfire through the means of a live auction fundraiser.

This past year, I had the incredible opportunity to play hockey for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

As an American, this entailed living in a new community for approximately 7 months.  Born and raised in Buffalo, NY and moving 2500 miles away from home can be very scary. I exited the plane to a new coach, team, and essentially walked into the home of strangers. This home would now become my family whom I would be living with for the duration of my stay.

Fast forward 7 months, it was now time to head back to Buffalo. Having had no idea what to expect before arriving in Alberta, and departing with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a warm community. The once mysterious place became my second home in a very short time.

Two weeks after saying goodbye to Fort McMurray, I received a devastating phone call from my former teammate and dear friend residing in Fort McMurray.  I immediately downplayed the situation, and initially processed it as surreal, assuming it was an isolated house fire. That was until the story became national news. 2,400 homes/ buildings destroyed, the town is in shambles.

This devastation covered a span of over 1/2 million miles. Days following the initial phone call, the apocalypse continued.  I could not fathom the fact that people were losing EVERYTHING they owned. This nightmare finally became a reality when I was informed that not only my teammate, but my former coach also lost this home. It is beyond my comprehension to wake up tomorrow morning, only to find every prized possession of mine in ashes.  After digesting this horror, it was apparent to me that I needed to attempt to somehow give back to the community that became a huge part of me.



Ironically, being a student at the Coding Dojo during this disaster sparked an idea for a way to give back. I came up with the idea to build  a multidimensional website using my newly acquired skills (  I would accept donations of sports memorabilia from organizations, professional athletes, etc, to be auctioned off.  In addition to this, monetary donations would also be accepted. 100% of the proceeds would be sent to Fort McMurray disaster relief.

Please consider helping in one of 4 different ways:

  1. Donate money here!
  2. Bid on an item at the auction!
  3. Donate an item to keep the auction going!

The more items we receive, the longer we can keep the fundraiser up and running. At the conclusion of the fundraiser we will present a check to the United Way of Fort McMurray. Tax deductible receipts will be provided.

I am very thankful for the other members of the Dojo that have contributed in such an enormous way, both their time and energy, to bring this project to fruition.  Every penny will help rebuild the town of Fort McMurray.

Join in the fight against the fire!

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