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  May 26, 1999

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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Hospital flooded with donations

By BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun

  A tag-team born by the Hart family's misfortune is proving a silver lining for the Alberta Children's Hospital.

Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Owen Hart are being asked by the family to direct their gift to the city hospital -- a suggestion that garnered a deluge of calls yesterday from across the continent.

"I've gotten calls from Petersburg, Florida and Quebec," said Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation administrator Gail Slater.

"This could go on for weeks and months, even."

Most of the callers were prompted by a request on a World Wrestling Federation website and by an appeal broadcast Monday on a televised WWF event.

The majority are seeking information on how to make a donation to the foundation that raises $5 million annually for the hospital.

The Hart-hospital relationship dates back to 1996 when Matthew Annis, the 13-year-old grandson of city wrestling legend Stu Hart, succumbed to the so-called flesh eating disease.

The family was touched by the care young Matthew received at the hospital.

"Everyone feels a strong sentimentality to the children's hospital when Matt was there," said the boy's grandmother, Helen Hart.

Owen's wife, Martha said: "Owen was always supportive of the children's hospital -- it's something we can never afford to lose."

Since then, star wrestlers Bret and Owen Hart have fund-raised for the hospital and comforted its patients.

The hospital foundation is deeply appreciative of the family's efforts, which could commemorate Owen Hart in a new project or development, said executive director Maureen Sheahan.

"They've been wonderful supporters of the hospital -- it's tremendous that they've thought of the children's hospital at a difficult time like this," said Sheahan.

"If there are significant dollars from the Hart Memorial Fund, we would work with the family (to immortalize Owen Hart's name)."

Money normally raised by the foundation goes towards equipment, research, programs and education.

And pending provincial support, the hospital is ready to embark on a $50-million fund-raising campaign to build wings devoted to research-education and patient isolation.

"(The Hart fund) definitely could be a major contributor to that," said Sheahan.

Readers can make thier donations to:

Alberta Children's Hospital
820 Richmond Rd.
SW, Alberta, Canada,
T2T 5C7

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