The Canadian colours of red and white have had a whole lot of orange mixed in at recent rugby sevens events all across the globe, and it’s all thanks to a young Abbotsford girl engaged in a fight with leukemia.
Four-year-old Paisley MacRury was diagnosed with the disease just before Christmas, and when her father Graeme MacRury’s rugby friends heard about the family’s battle, they decided to take action.
Graeme, who played on the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club for more than a decade, became friends with current Team Canada stars and Abbotsford natives Jake Thiel and Justin Douglas, and it was through those friendships that the orange lace idea came about.
Thiel came up with the idea to wear orange shoelaces – orange is the colour of leukemia awareness – during the HSBC New Zealand Sevens back in January. The rest of the team hopped on board, and the support has snowballed from there.
— Jake Thiel (@JakeThiel1) January 25, 2019
The orange laces movement has gone viral, with several teams around the world joining in and donning the laces to support both Paisley and increase leukemia awareness.
— Jen Ross (@Jen_L_Ross) February 3, 2019
Canada sported the orange laces again at the HSBC Canada Sevens event in Vancouver over the weekend, and Paisley’s story motivated Grosvenor Americas to donate $20,000 to Ronald McDonald House, where Paisley is staying as she receives treatment.
Graeme stated on Facebook that he is honoured by all the support from Rugby Canada.
“Sixteen years ago. I started playing this game,” he said. “I didn’t know back then what it would mean to me. To have a giant family that looks out for each other when we need it the most.”
South Africa won gold at the Vancouver event, with France taking silver and Fiji earning bronze. Team Canada finished 10th.