Players turn out to support Keith's charity

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks players turned out to support teammate Duncan Keith as he and his wife Kelly-Rae kicked off their charity foundation, “Keith Relief”, at an event at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago Wednesday night.

"Keith Relief" will help families with financial stress due to medical issues.

“We’ve been in Chicago for a while now, so we figured this was a good time to start things up to give back to the people of Chicago who have welcomed us with open arms,” Keith said.

The foundation will benefit Ronald McDonald charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana as well as HUGS (Helping Uninsured Get Surgery).

“Kelly-Rae had surgery here in the states recently,” Keith said. “When you see the bill and how expensive it is and how tough it can be on families, we feel this is an area where we can relieve some of that financial burden and stress for families.”

Keith noted how he and other native Canadians have greater medical coverage than in the States and it's one of the reasons they chose this cause.

“Duncan and I are dedicated to helping those who don’t have access to proper health care,” Kelly-Rae said. “When we learned about the increasing amount of bankruptcies and home foreclosures resulting from high medical expenses and lack of health insurance, we wanted to find a way to make things better for Chicago families in need. We’ll do a benefit in the spring to raise money.”

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Dave Bolland were among the players who attended to support Keith’s new cause.

“It’s a lot of fun to come out here,” Sharp said. “It’s the least I can do as a teammate to come out and show my support. Not everyone is as fortunate as others. This cause and everything we’re doing goes a long way to helping these people out.”

Part of the event included a ping pong table for people to hang out and play against the players.

“Dunc was talking a big game about how good he was,” Sharp said. “I’m looking forward to getting in there and showing my stuff. If Toews shows up we might have a few broken rackets.”

For more information, including how to donate to “Keith Relief,” visit www.duncankeith.com.