Garth Brooks, country star and multi-award winning artist, said he felt at home in Saskatchewan as he spoke to media before a fundraiser in Regina Wednesday night.
He said the sense of community reminds him of his hometown.
“What gets me is, your community up here could be two hours away, I mean this is all about the kids, and it’s all about the children’s hospital in Saskatoon, but yet you guys have shown so much involvement, and so much passion for this project, that I feel lucky to come down here (to Regina) and try and do it again.”
Brooks brought his star power to Saskatchewan to help raise money for the Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital, to be able to have a Child Life Zone – a therapeutic play area. In explaining it, Brooks said the zones can halve recovery time for kids, because they get to be kids there.
“Kids that won’t say a word, kids that won’t respond to anybody, but the dog comes in the room and all of a sudden you can’t shut them up … so the doctor’s getting all the information they need.”
Brooks’ charity, Teammates for Kids, has been involved with the Child Life Zone for a while, but Brooks said he doesn’t have a personal connection except that he’s a parent.
“If you’re a parent, you … every child is yours, every child you see your child in. So, there’s nothing like going home to your healthy children, and if you have healthy children, get down on your prayer bones and thank god, and try and do something for the kids that aren’t that healthy right now.”
Brooks was humble about his role in the fundraisers in Regina and Saskatoon. When it was suggested they were so successful because of his star power, he replied. “That’s very sweet … There’s a lot of people that are supporting it, mainly because of the kids.”
Brooks wasn’t the only big name at the event. Sports stars also filled the room at the Conexus Arts Centre. Mike Babcock, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a big supporter of Brooks’ charity. And there were several Saskatchewan Roughriders in attendance, including Brett Smith who was there to help present a Roughriders jersey to Brooks. Smith was very excited to meet the country star.
Brooks had nothing but great things to say about the athletes who come out to support the charity and the work they’re doing. “It’s a beautiful thing to see these guys turn their statistics into dollars for kids.”
By the end of the night on Wednesday, Brooks said he hoped they’d be able to raise at least $2 million.
“The great thing I like, every penny will go to making sure these kids get what they need.”
Brooks could be back in Saskatchewan in the near future. When asked about his upcoming touring he said he didn’t know the cities yet, but he couldn’t imagine a tour without coming back here.
“This is one of the greatest markets to play. We’ve been in Saskatoon twice, had a great time … I know we’ll get up here, and I look forward to when we do.”