Ace Bailey “Award of Courage” winner Jordan Thorne

On September 24, the anniversary of Jordan’s last day of treatment, NHL hockey legends (such as “Man of the Year” award winner Brad Park) presented the Ace Bailey Award of Courage to HACS family member Jordan Thorne. In recalling the evening, Tina (Jordan’s mother) was “so proud” of Jordan and noted no one in their family could have seen this in their future only a few years ago. The family was emotional, “but this time it was positive for a change!”

“When Joyce Hutson called me (and asked if I was sitting down) with the news, I couldn’t sleep for days … I was so happy for Jordan.  After all his difficult experiences and out of so many special people, Jordan was picked. It seemed like a dream … too good to be true.”  Indeed, she had to repeatedly go back to all the emails for confirmation.

When the big day finally came, the family was privileged to be honored guests at the NHL Alumni Awards Gala in Toronto, and were amazed by famous players like Johnny Bauer coming up to meet Jordan.  “We were the idol of the night.”  And Jordan’s acceptance speech didn’t disappoint:

“Good evening ladies and Gentlemen, For those of you that don’t know who I am my name is Jordan Thorne.  I am 15 years old and I am a two time brain cancer survivor.  I have short term memory loss so I have to read what I want to say.  Today is a very special day for me in more ways than one.  First of all, today marks the 3rd anniversary of when I finished radiation treatments.  Secondly, I never could imagine being here in this room with all of you wonderful people.  Thirdly, I am celebrating this wonderful evening with my family, NHL players and the Help A Child Smile staff and I am so honoured to receive the “Ace Bailey Award of Courage.”  I would like to thank everyone who founded and contributed to … and nominated me for this award.  I want to thank (you all) for your kindness.  I promise to pay it forward. 

I just cannot believe this is happening and I will cherish this moment forever.  I’d like to say a special thank you to Help A Child Smile because they truly did make me smile.  Help A Child Smile is a great organization and they do a lot for children with life-threatening illness and their families.  I am overjoyed to have had this opportunity to meet all of you NHL hockey players.  Words cannot express how overjoyed I feel tonight.  You have made such a positive impact on my life that I will never forget. Thank you … from the bottom of my heart.”

On December 3, 2012 (the International Day of People with Disabilities), Jordan was also awarded the Community Inclusion Recognition Award for “making a positive impact on the lives of people living with disabilities in (the Cambridge) community.” Jordan was also chosen to represent the Waterloo Region on a local news broadcast, through the “Lose the Training Wheels” program to teach children with disabilities across Canada and the United States how to independently ride a bicycle and understand the unique and inclusive opportunities that are available in recreation.

The Thorne family have been active with Help A Child Smile (as the hockey game picture above can attest to – his friend, Nathan Arsenault, even took the video from which the picture was taken) but Jordan has also been an avid volunteer and supports many organizations with his time and spoken message (that so much is possible in life), including the YMCA Youth Centre, Relay for Life, Cops for Cancer, Children’s Miracle Network, and the Terry Fox Foundation.  Way to go Jordan!