Major fundraiser planned for paralyzed hockey player and his family

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - A major fundraiser is being planned for the Catholic Central High School senior paralyzed during a hockey game.

Matt Sorisho was playing for a Michigan all-star team October 4th when the life-changing  accident happened.

He was skating full-speed down the ice. He took a shot, and then a clean hit from another play. It sent him off balance. He slammed back-first into the boards, breaking his back in two places. Matt was paralyzed from the waist down. His life changed forever in a split second. His dreams dashed of playing college hockey.

While Matt works tirelessly in rehab at U-M Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, a group of moms from Catholic Central are planning a huge fundraiser to help Matt's family cover the astronomical costs of an injury like this.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation estimates when someone close to Matt's age suffers an injury like this, the lifetime costs associated with it are over $2 million.

"With us doing the fundraiser, I think, it lifts a lot of the financial burden, so they can focus on Matt and what they need to do for Matt," says Robin Cerretani. Her son Carter has played hockey with Matt for years.

The event is called "A Benefit for Matt on Center Ice." It's being held at Compuware Arena in Plymouth on Wednesday, November 20th from 6:00 to 11:00 pm.

Donations from around the sports' world have poured in to raise money. There are signed jerseys from around the NHL, including a 2014 Winter Classic Red Wings Jersey signed by the whole team, and tickets to the big game and others.

Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk signed another jersey and so did Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin.

There's lots of others sports memorabilia that's been donated, along with TVs, bicycles, jewelry, a 2-year car lease and trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Naples & Marco Island, Florida. There will also be meet and greets with some of the Red Wings.

All the items donated will be auctioned off, during either the silent or live auction.

Maureen McCrimmon is helping put the fundraiser together. While she doesn't know the Sorisho family, helping them is very personal. Her son goes to Catholic Central and she will never forget the way the CC Community supported her when her husband, former Red Wing and Asst. Captain Brad McCrimmon, was killed in a plane crash with a hockey team in Russia.

"They have a long road ahead of them. There's a lot of emotions you go through," McCrimmon says. "It doesn't matter if you lose someone or they're just hurt, or like in Matt's situation. I want them to have an easier road. If you don't worry about financial things and stuff like that, it's easier to heal."

Matt's doctor says it's not uncommon with this type of paralyzing injury that within a year of intensive outpatient therapy, that Matt will be able to bear some weight on his legs.

"With bracing and the right equipment, we may be able to get him back up on his feet," Dr Liza Green says.

She says it's not expected he'll be able to walk in the traditional sense, but with special equipment, he'll be able to move his body forward.

"That's why the benefit is so important, so he has all the financial means to get that stuff," she says.

Matt's parents are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for their son and their family. They say it's what has helped them get through every day. 

How you can help

For more information on the November 20 "Benefit for Matt on Center Ice," click the link... ( MOBILE: ... or you can help the Sorisho family with the astronomical costs associated with a catastrophic injury like this, by making a donation at the Hockey Has Heart website.

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