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Playing with a purpose

Defenceman Liam Murray is playing his Ontario Hockey League overage season for the Kingston Frontenacs with an extra purpose.

The 20-year-old Murray, who is from Orleans, has put his name to an awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s disease called Liam Murray Remembers.

Alzheimer’s is an illness that has struck close to home for Murray. His grandfather, Robert (Bob) Murray, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago when he was 68.

Over the summer, his grandfather’s illness progressed from the family caregiving stage to the point where he is now in a nursing home.

“As things got worse in the summer with my grandfather, it sort of gave me the idea that I wanted to initiate a program like this,” Murray said. “I figured I had one last year [of junior eligibility] and I could use the exposure to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.

“The opportunity to be youth ambassador and raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, not only for the older generation but for my generation as well, is something that is huge for me.”

Murray knows only too well the toll that the illness takes, not only on the person affected but also the caregivers.

“He is a special man, very close to my heart. He is battling a terrible disease,” Murray said. “It has been a tiring and rough process for the family members who are there every day with him. Whether it is at the hospital or the nursing home, you are always worrying about him.

“We do what we do because we know he would do the same for us.”

Murray lived with his grandparents for five years after his parents went through a divorce while he and his siblings were young.

“Whether it was taking me to school every day, hockey practices or tournaments, he always had our backs. He was there to provide for us along with my father. He did that for everyone he knew. He is family orientated, friend orientated and just loved the company of good people.”

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