Minnesota goalie Josh Harding — who won the 2013 Masterton Trophy after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year — has established a public charity aimed at changing perceptions of MS.
“There is a poor perception of people diagnosed with MS. People immediately think wheelchair and death,” he said in announcing the launch of Harding’s Hope. “I want to be a role model for others diagnosed with MS by showing that this will not come between me and my goals.”
Here’s more, from the release:
Harding initially struggled to find important and necessary information about the disease, while he was exposed to some of the negative perceptions surrounding something that affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide.
A lack of education and understanding are something that Josh hopes he is able to help change through work with his new organization.
In the United States, Harding’s Hope will work with existing agencies to help support people faced with the expensive treatment costs.
In Canada, the charity will support organizations that provide community services to people living with MS.
Harding, 29, learned of his MS diagnosis last fall but managed to serve as Minnesota’s backup this season, though he did miss extensive time with a MS-related setback in February.
Undeterred, Harding returned to action and became the team’s starter for all five games of its opening-round playoff loss to Chicago.
Filling in for the injured Niklas Backstrom, Harding posted a .911 save percentage and 2.94 GAA in the playoffs, which included a stellar 43-save effort in Game 2 — paving the way to winning the Masterton, awarded annually to the player who exemplifies “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”