Thank you, Bryan Mur­ray. You will be missed

Ottawa Sun - - COMMENT -

For a cap­i­tal city, Ot­tawa has long hung on to its small-town charm.

Sure, the machi­na­tions of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment churn away here, with all the at­ten­dant hue and cry, but we at the Sun like to think our city as a whole has a dif­fer­ent vibe, a gen­tler char­ac­ter.

It’s a city of small neigh­bour­hoods, a city where such things as parks and play­grounds mat­ter deeply to us, a city where we fret about the ebb and flow of crime in­stead of just cyn­i­cally accepting it.

And maybe that’s one rea­son why, when one of our favourite sons dies, the loss stings the way it does.

So it was Sat­ur­day, with news that long­time Sen­a­tors fig­ure Bryan Mur­ray’s bat­tle with can­cer had come to an end.

For Mur­ray was un­de­ni­ably a mem­ber of the “Ot­tawa Fam­ily,” a rec­og­niz­able and re­spected face through­out this com­mu­nity.

With his pass­ing came the ex­pected trib­utes, to his work and his char­ac­ter.

And though we all know that when­ever some­one dies, the com­men­tary that fol­lows is in­evitably flow­ery and com­pli­men­tary, it is some­how dif­fer­ent with men such as Bryan Mur­ray.

Be­cause Mur­ray, known not just for his ded­i­ca­tion to hockey but for his per­sonal char­ac­ter, would have been praised the same way he was Sat­ur­day a week ago, a year ago, or longer.

He was a man who faced ad­ver­sity with the strength and grace with which he lived his life.

Af­ter he was di­ag­nosed with Stage 4 colon can­cer three years ago, Mur­ray used his pro­file in this city to ed­u­cate oth­ers. He pub­licly en­cour­aged men his age and younger to get the early can­cer-de­tect­ing colonoscopy he never did.

He also spoke up about the “com­ple­men­tary” can­cer ther­a­pies he went through in ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional chemo­ther­apy, from yoga to mistle­toe in­jec­tions. He ques­tioned in the pages of this paper why such ef­forts weren’t cov­ered yet by pro­vin­cial health in­sur­ance.

He took on a role with the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety. He served as the Ot­tawa area’s com­mu­nity cham­pion for the Re­lay for Life.

And he con­tin­ued, of­ten in the pub­lic spot­light, to sup­port the team he had given so much to — as a coach, gen­eral man­ager, ad­viser and ex­ec­u­tive — the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors.

In short, he made his fi­nal days count.

Our city needs men and women like Bryan Mur­ray, peo­ple who in­spire through their per­se­ver­ance.

We hope Ot­tawans will take up his legacy, both with the spe­cific act of get­ting screened for de­tectable can­cers, but, more largely, by giv­ing back to their com­mu­nity.

To his fam­ily and loved ones, we of­fer our most sin­cere con­do­lences.

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