Even though this year brought tons of change, some things stayed the same. Canada is still a beautiful and diverse country. People are still looking for ways to support one another (masks and social distancing, anyone?). And, especially as the summer begins to wane, we're all reminded that hockey remains an iconic part of our proud nation. 

This summer, the Lung Health Foundation’s #MyLungLife Hockey Challenge is using the power of this great sport to bring us together again. With this event, running until September 15, the challenge is encouraging all Canadians to stay active and raise money for lung health research.

In the spirit of fitness, support, and competition (some key features of this awesome sport), the #MyLungLife Hockey Challenge invites everyone to help in the battle against lung disease. Since 1 in 5 Canadians is afflicted by a lung illness, this is more relevant than ever. 

While adhering to all social distancing recommendations, this competition offers a chance to have fun, stay active, and win big. You might be asking: what's the big prize? Well, other than the chance to raise funds for an important cause, participants get entered in a draw for the chance to meet Walter Gretzky at his Brantford, Ontario, home. 

The well-known father of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is opening his home in a show of support for all the good that the Lung Health Foundation (and this fundraising challenge) does. The winner gets a chance to see, firsthand, where "The Great One" learned to play and even visit the trophy room. Don't worry, the prize is going to be booked post-pandemic. To hockey buffs, this is basically the holy grail of prizes. Plus, it comes with the opportunity to do some real good for the world.

So, ready to get involved? Here's how it works: participants can challenge family and friends (or just themselves) to engage in different endeavours. Each one raises money that goes towards research, programs, and services for Canadians impacted by lung disease. 

It's quick and easy to get started. Just go to the #MyLungLife website and pick the activity that stands out to you by joining one of three fundraising divisions. Have your own equipment already? Check out the blocking and scoring challenges for ball hockey players and indulge your competitive side. More of a lone wolf? The individual goals section lets you customize a plan to fit your personal style. Are you a hardcore fitness fanatic? If so, the elite fitness enthusiasts league lets you train like a pro.

An added benefit: the #MyLungLife challenge found a way to make this team sport social-distance friendly. We might not have a crowded arena, but you can invite friends, family (and everyone else) to cheer you on through donations to the Lung Health Foundation. You can even join a virtual hockey team to connect over hockey and a healthy lifestyle. 

The event is really inclusive, too. The Lung Health Foundation wants to use this opportunity to get everyone in Canada involved and active. Whether you're affected by lung disease, know someone who is, or just want to play hockey and do some good, the #MyLungLife challenge is for you. 

With a little help from some good-hearted Canadian hockey players, the Lung Health Foundation can reach its goal of $22,000.

Get your sticks and pads ready and call up your friends and family. This challenge is a way to garner funds for early diagnosis, research, and critical services. Plus, it provides the opportunity to come together through sport. During these trying times, we're all looking for a way to connect and help, and what's better than kindness and hockey combined? 

Visit the Lung Health Foundation website to participate, make a difference, and win a chance to meet Walter Gretzky at his hometown in Brantford. Follow them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter

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