DON’T WORRY WE GOT YOU, DE­MAR

Raps fans rally af­ter all-star re­veals strug­gle with de­pres­sion

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When Chris Bosh left the Rap­tors for the Mi­ami Heat in 2010, a young De­mar Derozan reached out to com­fort and in­spire aban­doned Toronto fans with a brash tweet: “Don’t worry, I got us.”

De­spite four all-star se­lec­tions since then, while rewrit­ing the fran­chise record book — and lead­ing the team to its fifth straight NBA play­off ap­pear­ance next month — the Rap­tors’ 28-year-old fran­chise player caught on­look­ers by sur­prise when he re­vealed his strug­gles with de­pres­sion.

Fans are ral­ly­ing to show him their sup­port and ap­pre­ci­a­tion with Project Don’t Worry We Got You.

“De­mar is a su­per­hero. He’s in­vin­ci­ble. Watch­ing him play, we didn’t know what’s go­ing on in his life,” said Syed Hasny of Mil­ton.

Derozan’s tweet on NBA al­ls­tar week­end in Fe­bru­ary— “This de­pres­sion get the best of me” — was shrugged off by fans as a quote from a song lyric un­til he told the Star’s Doug Smith that de­spite all his fame and money, there are “times ev­ery­thing in the whole world’s on top of you.”

“That’s a pretty strong state­ment from some­body with his stature,” Hasny said of Derozan’s tweet. “His fa­ther is very sick and his mother has Lu­pus. It would be nice to show our ap­pre­ci­a­tion and sup­port for all that he has done for Toronto and his fans.”

Derozan’s com­ments in the Star drew an out­pour­ing of sup­port from fans and fel­low ath­letes, in­clud­ing Cleve­land Cava­liers all-star Kevin Love, who de­tailed his own bat­tle with anx­i­ety in an on­line per­sonal es­say.

Oth­ers quickly re­sponded and they de­cided to create a book filled with mes­sages from fans for Derozan to see. The re­sponse was over­whelm­ing.

An ini­tial tar­get of $80 through Gofundme was quickly passed and funds have bal­looned to $1,000. More than 100 peo­ple sent in let­ters of sup­port or shared their strug­gles.

Derozan told re­porters last week he’s been over­whelmed in gen­eral by the sup­port from fans and the bas­ket­ball world.

“The re­sponse and ev­ery­thing I’ve got back from it was so pos­i­tive . . . and it made me feel, you know, pretty damn good, hon­estly,” Derozan said. “So it’s cool to be able to help some­body.”

The group will con­tinue to ac­cept sub­mis­sions of art­work, short mes­sages, long let­ters, words of sup­port and photo im­ages un­til March 23 at we­go­ty­oude­mar@gmail.com. The goal is to hand Derozan the book be­fore the NBA play­offs.

“We want to get it to him be­fore the play­offs so he has some­thing to read be­tween the games,” said fan Ju­dith Wang.

No mat­ter how in­de­struc­tible we look like we are, we’re all hu­man at the end of the day. De­mar Derozan

CON­TRIB­UTED

Aleks San­je­vic was among the fans to re­spond to the call out.

RICK MADONIK TORSTAR NEWS SER­VICE

Syed Hasny made the call out through the Red­dit Rap­tors’ fan group to show some love and sup­port to De­mar Derozan.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Ju­dith Wang is part of the e ort to put to­gether a book of art­work and let­ters of sup­port.

RICK MADONIK TORSTAR NEWS SER­VICE

De­mar Derozan, the NBA East­ern Con­fer­ence player of the week, re­cently opened up about his strug­gles with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

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