Duncan Keith enjoys tea time with Aleigha Chaffey (left) and Ciara Jones during a visit to the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre Monday. The Chicago Blackhawks star is wanting to raise awareness about the work done at the centre. Mark Brett/Western News

NHL’er Keith hoping to raise awareness

Chicago Blackhawks defenceman drops by OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre

Duncan Keith’s visit to the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre on Monday was an eye opener and much more.

“Really, for me as a dad, the biggest thing about going to the centre is it made me realize just how lucky I am that my son (Colton, 4) is healthy and happy,” said Keith, who was the special guest at the Colours4Kids fundraiser in support of OSNS which prompted his tour request. “For me it just really puts things in perspective about having healthy children.

“I saw a lot of great little kids running around and obviously I think some of them had some things going on. I’m not too familiar with developmental problems like autism so just to see what they go through on a day-to-day basis, their struggles and the help they get there was very important.”

Related: Record attendance for Colour4Kids

The Chicago Blackhawks star is no stranger to assisting others, in the summer of 2011 he started Keith Relief, a foundation dedicated to alleviating the financial burdens of families and individuals suffering from medical crisis.

“That’s what’s most important in life, health,” said Keith.

One of the things he was most impressed with at the centre was the staff.

“There are so many cool things that the facility has but first and foremost it is the many caring people who work there, they really have good hearts,” said Keith. “It’s all about the kids, getting the help and the support they need to develop and succeed.”

Manisha Willms, OSNS executive was his tour guide for the 40-minute look at work the centre does.

“Duncan was very interested and had some great questions about things like autism,” said Willms. “I was just so impressed with his genuine interest in child development and the struggles faced by these children and especially the importance of raising awareness of what can be done at the centre to help them.”