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Jim Cuddy’s Gold Medal Connections

Jim Cuddy has been in the news a lot lately. After his single “Pull Me Through” was used for a montage of the history between figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, it crashed the iTunes servers because of the surge in downloads. Also last month, he released his latest album, Constellation. And in the fall, he was in the news, too, but for something perhaps less well-known about him: his charity work.

In November, Cuddy, along with Alan Doyle and numerous other Canadian musicians got together to record a cover of Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest,” arguably the most popular Canadian drinking song there is. The cause, though, is less celebratory: Spirit of the West’s frontman, John Mann, has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and the event was to raise funds for his care, which, as of the end of February, has raised $41,001 of $50,000.

Cuddy’s charity work varies but is often related to music. In 2014, for example, he played in the Juno Cup, the charity hockey game between ex-NHLers and Juno-award nominees. In an interview with the CBC, Cuddy says, “It’s almost unfathomable that music programs would disappear from schools. That that amount of funding couldn’t be found to keep that alternative for kids.”

He also believed that music helped many musicians actually get through school: “I think that most of these musicians understand that school maybe wasn’t their thing and music was a big huge bright lightbulb for them that led them to where they are now, so, I think it’s essential.”

Another charity event close to his heart, or perhaps more accurately, his taste buds, is the Gold Medal Plates, which supports Canadian athletes. According to its website, it has raised a net amount of $13 million for Olympic athletes in Canada. It was the charity event that opened Cuddy up to a new love: cycling.

Cuddy’s first year with the Gold Medal Plates charity was in 2009. He’d hardly cycled before that, and for the trip had to cycle alongside Olympians and other experienced cyclists. “I realized people don’t fall when they’re moving, they fall when they try to stop. You’re not going to kill yourself, you’re going to embarrass yourself,” he says in a Canadian Cycling Magazine article.

Cuddy believes that artists are particularly drawn to activities with “a Zen or meditative component. You have this clearing of the mind. When I’m writing songs, it helps to germinate ideas and to mull stuff over.”

So, perhaps this is a good place to close, with the video montage of Olympians Virtue and Moir, and Cuddy’s “Pull Me Through.” We dare you not to cry.

The Jim Cuddy Band plays at the Centre In The Square on Friday, March 16 @ 8PM. Order your tickets now.

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