Special to The Lake Report
The community response to a fundraiser dedicated to NOTL native Warren “Beach” Thompson has warmed the hearts of organizers.
Niagara-on-the-Lake farmer Michael Watson and St. Catharines resident Stephany Delano organized a GoFundMe campaign hashtagged #ThompsonTough after Thompson, 55, a beloved former hockey coach, suffered a stroke in early December.
The fundraiser, launched on Tuesday, Jan. 5, had already exceeded its $20,000 goal a week later. The total was $21,252, and counting, as of Thursday morning.
Watson said he was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for all who have donated.
“People who don’t even know Warren have chipped in,” said Watson. “A lot of names I recognize from growing up in (NOTL) show up on the donors list.”
Thompson's wife, Candace “Candy” Bureau, said her husband has had a big impact on many in the community, which is why he is so loved.
“I say that he’s a socialite in the sense that he knows a lot of people and is very well-known,” she said.
And when it comes to sports, “He will stop and talk to anybody.”
“Community-wise (he loves) anything to do with sports. Because he hasn’t been coaching the last two winters he will go watch anybody’s children, grandchildren, it doesn’t matter who, if there’s a child’s sports game to watch, he’s on it,” said Bureau.
Thompson, who helped coach with the NOTL Wolves for several years, was released from Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital on Jan. 8.
However, he has speech issues and limited mobility, so his home will need to be made more accessible.
The fundraiser, posted online by family friend Stephany Delano, will ultimately help Thompson’s family renovate their St. Catharines home and aid him in his recovery.
“Right now we live in a wartime house, so the bathroom is still on the second floor. So for Warren to get around he can’t manipulate the stairs,” said Bureau.
The money raised from the #ThompsonTough campaign will go toward installing an accessible main-floor bathroom with “a walk-in shower, lifted toilet and a sink.”
Bureau extended her thanks to both Watson and Delano for their hard work in organizing the fundraiser, as well as to all who have contributed to #ThompsonTough.
“In a time of such negativity and loss, there is always positivity and blessings to be found. We could have allowed ourselves to be consumed by grief but there is so much to be thankful for,” she said.
To make a donation to #ThompsonTough visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/x8y5vn-thompsontough?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer or email email@example.com.