The Upper Deck Hockey company is a business that cares about its collectors and keeping their memories alive.
Sydney Wood played soccer with Mt Hamilton soccer and basketball with Blessed Sacrament Basketball. She was an extremely athletic young girl who lost her life and now has been honoured by The Upper Deck Hockey company with a Heroic Inspirations card.
Sue Wood is Sydney’s mother and recalls the day her daughter took ill while doing something she loved dearly.
“She was the star of her teams,” Wood said. “We traveled to Virginia Beach in August 2012 to play in a soccer tournament.”
Wood says Sydney played in the semi-final game and scored the winning goal that day.
“The championship game later that afternoon was canceled due to rain,” Wood said. “Sydney was not happy. She wanted to play in that game so badly. We went back to the hotel, had dinner and Sydney asked to go swimming with her friend. I took her and her younger sister to the pool. Within minutes of swimming, Sydney came out crying complaining of a very bad headache.”
Wood says Sydney sat down and was in a lot of pain so they went upstairs.
“As I was lifting her she said she could not feel her left side,” Wood said. “We called an ambulance once upstairs.”
The family would receive some devastating news that day which would change their lives forever.
“We were told Sydney had a very aggressive brain tumour,” Wood said. “We brought her to the hospital on Sunday evening and she never woke up. She passed away on Monday afternoon. Us and her two sisters had to make the ten-hour drive back home without her.”
The drive home to their Hamilton Mountain home was mostly silent. Her sisters Mallory and Kamryn rode in the back seat. Mom and dad sat stunned in the front. A dozen years ago, they’d lost a son at birth and now this.
They took some comfort in knowing her donated organs would help nine or ten kids. But making sense of what happened was impossible. Not just for them, either.
The local sports community was emotionally blasted. A touching YouTube video popped up. Facebook tributes poured in. At the team’s first practice since her death, the girls sat around in their uniforms and talked about Sydney. Then did some of her favorite drills.
Sydney Wood was always the life of the team. Her soccer coach describes her as bringing a bit of sunshine onto the field with her every time she arrived to play or practice.
“She was good from the inside out,” says her soccer coach Charlie Scibetta.
The Wood family knew they wanted to create something that would honour Sydney’s memory and keep her spirit alive.
“One of the fears of a bereaved parent is that your child will be forgotten,” Wood said. “Sydney was all about helping others so we wanted to give back in her name. We created the Sydney Wood Purple Butterfly Of Hope Foundation in 2014. We have a yearly fundraiser, a video dance party to raise funds for other charities and organizations in our community.”
To date through their fundraisers, they have raised $120,000.00 in Sydney’s memory.
“We are extremely proud of this,” Wood said. “We approached Upper Deck Hockey in the Spring after reading of another young girl they had made a card for. We heard back telling us they would love to create a card for Sydney.”
The card named Heroic Inspirations was released on November 18, 2019, by the Upper Deck Company in Sydney’s memory and states on the back of the card that Sydney “Will always be our little hero.” Sydney’s organ donation helped save the lives of seven children
‘A company which cares’
Upper Deck has a huge presence at the 2019 Fall Sport Card & Memorabilia Expo where the company will be promoting new trading cards and memorabilia releases. On Saturday morning, November 16, Upper Deck focused instead on paying tribute to a local athlete whose life was cut tragically short at the age of just 11-years when she passed away from a brain tumor.
Since her passing in 2012; her family has worked to keep her memory alive by launching the Sydney Wood Purple Butterfly of Hope Foundation. Her family was on-hand on Saturday morning for the unveiling of Sydney Wood’s very own Heroic Inspirations trading card from Upper Deck.
The Heroic Inspirations card Upper Deck created shows Sydney playing one of the sports she loved most; basketball. On the card back is copy about the youngster received directly from the family and information about the charity.
These cards were available as a gift with a donation at the Upper Deck booth on Saturday and Sunday of the event which was held.
“Typically our focus at these collectibles shows is to promote new Upper Deck trading releases, but giving back is extremely important to this company,” Chris Carlin; Upper Deck’s senior manager of customer experience said. “As we’ve been working with the family over the last few months on this project, it’s clear they are focused on the admirable goals of the charity, but also that they are still affected by Sydney’s loss. I think it is worthwhile to pause for a moment at a show like this and just focus on this card for Sydney Wood. Once you know her story, I can’t think of a parent who wouldn’t want to share this card with their children to show them what a real hero looks like and how important it is to live every moment to the fullest as Sydney did.”
“Sue and I are beyond thankful that Sydney was chosen for this honour,” Greg Wood, Sydney’s father said. “We are forever grateful to Upper Deck for not only choosing to immortalize our baby, but to be able to share her story with the world about what an inspirational young lady she is and will always be.”
Trading cards always held a special place in the Wood family’s dynamic as Greg and Sydney collected cards together.
“We know Sydney would be smiling her beautiful smile from ear to ear if she saw this card,” Wood said. “She started collecting cards with me at a young age and she loved finding her favorite players from the local teams in packs. Her dream was to play in the WNBA and have her own card someday. She would think being on her very own Upper Deck card is the coolest thing ever.”
>Fans who didn’t attend the Expo can reach out to the charity to obtain one of these cards through their contact page at http://sydneywood.ca/contact-
Upper Deck’s Heroic Inspirations program has helped create awareness and funds for charities all over North America since the program began in 2013.
To learn more about Sydney Wood and her Foundation, please visit www.sydneywood.ca