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#RUGBYSTRONG Front Line Winners Announced

The Rugby Shop asked for nominations of front Line and essential workers from rugby communities and we are happy to announce the 12 winners of a Rugby Shop Swag Bag and $500 towards their local clubs next kit purchase!! We are also giving a $25 gift voucher to all of the nominated workers! Thank you so much for all of the risk and sacrifice you are taking on to keep people safe during this pandemic.

We will be releasing the winners over the next few weeks with some details of what the person does on the front lines and how they are connected to rugby.

1) Michael McMahon

Michael McMahon of the Cobourg Saxons RFC, a founder of the Southern Ontario Mercenaries and Saxons Rookie Rugby. Mike has a long history of contributing to grassroots rugby and sports in general and still plays with the Saxon Old Boys.
On the medical side, Michael is an Advanced Care Paramedic with the Region of Durham and a facilitator at Loyalist College and with Central East Prehospital Care Program. Not only that but he has been active in organizing Food Bank Donations and generally promoting causes for those less fortunate. Way to go Mike - thank you for everything you are doing!!

2) Laura Harmse

I want to say thank you to The Rugby Shop and Rugby Community for my nomination. Winning was completely unexpected but very much appreciated.

I started playing rugby in high school in 1994 and I helped start the women’s program at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club that same year. In my 22 years of playing, I have played with Burnaby Lake RFC, Douglas Rugby Club, some Rep rugby and am now with the Twilighters Rugby Club (Old Boys). Within this time frame, I have tried to retire at least 5 times, tried other sports but just cannot stay away from the joy rugby brings to my life – with playing and with the amazing friends and relationships gained along the way. Nothing beats the feeling of an open field tackle!

I work as a Palliative Clinical Resource Nurse in Home Health in Vancouver. I support staff through mentor ship, education and leadership to provide palliative care in the community and to support clients living with a life limiting illness to live as well as possible in addressing the physical, psycho social and spiritual needs they may have.

I feel fortunate to be living and working in Canada during this pandemic. Our front line workers give 110% of themselves in the work they do when there isn’t a pandemic and they continue to persevere and work hard despite the additional pressures faced due to COVID-19. The constant messages of support and “check ins” from my rugby family and rugby community have helped me deal with this stress. But this is what makes rugby, rugby – on and off the field: always there for each other, always willing to raise a helping hand or drink, always standing side by side during the good times and bad times.

Much love and hugs to all, every day! Stay safe.

3) Jenn Stewart

"I am the youngest of the founding members of the Nanaimo Women Team. I have been a part of the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Club for more than 20yrs. I retired as a prop about 10yrs ago when I became a nurse. Since I have helped out as a trainer, sat on the executive and currently am a very proud rugby mom.

I am an LPN in a long term care facility. We are doing our best to keep this virus out of our facility. I was privileged to go to the Canada Sevens in Vancouver. But I am very much missing the sport and family. That only rugby brings. I am lucky to have a job that withstands what is going on, however this has taken a huge toll on my residents. Being separated from their loved ones is heartbreaking."

4) Karl Cernovitch

"I have been with the Montreal Wanderers for 27 years. Still actively playing in the 15s league during the summer, being hit by players that could be my sons. Travelling to New York 7s in the fall, when I’m not too broken. I’ve played on rep sides at the provincial and Canadian Super League level. I have coached club and provincial men’s and women’s teams. Including coaching my wife, while chasing toddlers down the field, with a newborn strapped to my chest. That has led us to founding a mini rugby program in our community of Montreal West. As an Emergency doctor who still plays, I have been known to throw in some stitches on the sidelines and pop the occasional broken ankle back into place. I am now the Chief of the Emergency Department at the McGill University Health Centers. We are a designated COVID-19 site and we are in the thick of the pandemic in Montreal. Luckily, we had time to prepare as best as possible before the wave hit us and we are just barely staying afloat. I am fortunate to be leading a great team off the field, looking forward to being back on the field for “one last year” of rugby (which I’ve said for the last ten)." Doesn't Karl sound like an awesome guy?

5) Lisa De Sario & Maddy Harris

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So our 1st winners were Balmy Beach Women's Rugby players Maddy Harris and Lisa De Sario for organizing a blood drive challenge between themselves and Burlington Centaurs Rugby Football Club

Harris had this to say about the idea... "Up The Blood is a Blood Drive challenge between [clubs]. The club with the least donations by May 31st has to wear the sweaty jerseys of the winner at the first post-game beer-up...The idea came from Lisa De Sario. Lisa has been a big part of our leadership core for a long time and as a first responder, she's seeing the shortages in our health care system firsthand. I think the challenge has really given our club a sense of purpose. In times like these, you feel helpless and giving blood is a great way to give back and make a difference in someone's life. For me, the rugby community has been like a family and initiatives like this make me feel proud to be a part of it."

Of the Challenges related to COVID 19, De Sario said "In Canada we are very lucky to have a universal health care system. You will be hard pressed to find a rugby player who hasn’t had to use it at least once in their rugby career. Unfortunately our system is under a lot of stress right now and although Covid is a main concern for a lot of people, the preexisting Covid health cases are still happening. Chemotherapy, blood transfusions, addiction, mental health, and so many more life threatening cases are still occurring everyday. Health care professionals are being asked to go to work with limited protective equipment and support and then encouraged to donate blood, isolate from their loved ones and do their best to stay healthy. We have some rugby players in the frontlines and sacrificing their own health to save lives in this pandemic. This is a difficult time for everyone but rugby players push through the tough times to put their team In a more opportune position. If you’re not in a good place to advance the ball you stay out of the way. That philosophy applies here; if you can help your community, local hospital, neighbours, etc. please do, if you can’t please stay home."

More to come...

Here are a list of all of the people nominated who also receive a $25 Gift Voucher for The Rugby Shop. Please contact us at ed@therugbyshop.com to claim your voucher.

 Candace Odland McGowen
Misha Maric
Scott McDougal
Julia Fowler
Jenn Stewart
Sarah Kathyrn
Rosy Rivera-Henderson
Aniko Hawthorn
Tara-Lynn Silzer
Rita Miranda
Michelle Young
Sidney Bernstein
Michael Pankovich
Mike McKelvie
Michael McMahon
Aarun Mahal
Karl Cernovitch
Shantel LeClercq
Laura Suzanne Miller
Ramsey Tuaua
Jordan Childs
Mark Panda
Anthony Dyster
Matthew Roland Powers
Tim Trumble
Ymerej Noswar
John Thurston
Meg Rogers
Jeremy Richard
Lolly Dee
Brianna Brewer
Kezz Ar
Cassie Peterson
Cheyanne Armour
Meg MacKinnon
Clark Northcott
Todd Graves
Michael Emmerson
Sean Bolley
Dr. Rhett Ketschke
Adam Jacob
Katie Boychuk
John Gillis
Stacey March
Kurt H Mikkelsen
steve macculloch
Ethan Kilmurry
Christopher Dominey
Siôn Griffiths
Tony Ribeiro
Shelby Rae
Leah Daum
Melissa Daum
Ashley Smith
Eryn Lee
Vincent Moeykens
Brent Wood
Darrin Chaplin
James McConn
Gavin Jacklyn
Flatliners RFC
Justice Rugby
Miriam Rammal
Ryan Davenport
Miss Jaye