When he was playing with the Peterborough Petes from 2009 to 2014, Andrew D’Agostini quickly realized how something that seemed little to him, such as “scribbling my name on a puck for a kid,” could make someone else’s day.
He made every effort he could to get out in the community and try to make a difference and in 2011, created his Saves for CF program to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine.
Saves for CF has followed the ECHL Brampton Beast goaltender everywhere his hockey career has taken him ever since.
“I’m glad that two major parts of my life are so easily intertwined,” said the 24-year-old. “I can help people while playing the game we love. After (my hockey career), ideally we will have found a cure for cystic fibrosis.”
D’Agostini’s efforts to start up Saves for CF helped him earn the Ontario Hockey League’s humanitarian of the year award.
The desire to help raise money for cystic fibrosis (CF) research came when the mother of a young Peterborough boy with CF visited the team and shared some information about the disease ahead of a CF event the team was hosting.
“I told her I don’t just want to tweet something about it or donate,” D’Agostini said. (I asked) what can we really do to make a difference right now.”
A number of sponsors jumped on board to help by donating a certain amount of money based on how many saves D’Agostini makes in a season.
Trish Mills from RE/MAX Reality Services Inc. and VNG Communication, both in Brampton, are head sponsors who donate $1 and $0.50 per save respectively.
When Canadian university teams were recruiting him over the 2013-14 season, the goalie was adamant about the schools supporting his initiative and the University of Guelph was happy to join the cause.
He found out CF research is being done on campus and when he presents a cheque to the research centre each year, he and his sponsors get a tour of the facility.
D’Agostini sets out to raise a couple thousand dollars each year, but because of all the support the program has received, he estimates he’s been able to raise around $100,000 since he founded Saves for CF.
Along the way, he has been fortunate to have met a lot of great people who have CF, but never complain about it.
One of those people is a young woman named Maygan, a former Beast employee. D’Agostini visited her on a number of occasions while she was at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto over the summer.
“A lot of people are suffering and the opportunities are endless to help make an impact,” D’Agostini said. “I don’t know what that means for me, but I’m always going to look for a way to help someone.”