Sometimes in your life, you meet people and you say to yourself very soon thereafter "this is one of the good ones". Let me introduce you to Kittana — she's one of the good ones.
Kittana is a Toronto Maple Leafs (and Toronto Marlies) fan, as most of the best people are. In fact, that's how we met originally. It was at one of the much-missed "Meet Me at the Marlies" events at Ricoh Coliseum — a chance for a group of people who might only know each other through Twitter or Facebook, if they knew each other at all, to get a chance to sit in a corner box to watch a Marlies' game. Free food, some swag, chances to win prizes, and a meet-and-greet with a Marlies' player after the game.
Kittana was at one of those, and I remember her far-too-cute daughter being with her. In fact, if I remember correctly, Kittana's daughter took home the big prize that day — season's tickets to the Marlies. I was suitably jealous.
We'd bump into other after that on Twitter from time to time, mostly during Leafs' games, expressing our shared frustration at whatever bonehead thing the team was doing to lose that particular game. And once Erin and I started attending Marlies' games more regularly, we'd see Kittana and her daughter occasionally, when she had the chance to make the trek in from her home in Hamilton and use those tickets.
Two years ago, the Marlies played Montreal's Hamilton-based farm team in an outdoor game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Erin and I travelled down for the game, and we had the chance to run into Kittana and spend some time with her — a little island of Marlies' fans among the hostile enemy.
I was thinking about that outdoor game yesterday while watching the Leafs get their hard-earned victory against Detroit in the Big House. I was thinking about how cold it was, and seeing our friends Greg and Angela, and running into Kittana, and how badly the Marlies kicked the Bulldogs' asses — it was an awfully fun couple of days. Fun. Hamilton. Sounds weird to say.
So it was an odd bit of serendipity tonight when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a post from Kittana. See, Kittana's recently made what I think is a pretty brave choice, to pick up like the pioneers of old and move westward to build a better life for herself and her now five-year-old Kitten (her daughter's nickname — not an actual kitten). There's a place to live waiting for her, and a job waiting for her, both things that have become a challenge in Hamilton.
And because those things have become a challenge in Hamilton, money's become a challenge too. So Kittana's made another equally-brave choice — she's asked for help. Through GoFundMe, she's trying to raise enough to get herself and Kitten out to Edmonton to start over. By the time I saw her post, she'd made some nice progress toward reaching her goal, but if there's anything I can do to help get her even closer, well, I pretty much have to do that.
So, I'm reaching out to my friends, and my Twitter followers, and the one person who I think actually subscribes to my all-too-infrequent posts on my blog — if you have a bit to spare, and are so inclined, my friend Kittana could use your help. And she's worth it. After all, she's one of the good ones.
Kittana's GoFundMe campaign can be found right here.