Many of you may know Rich Blakey. He has spent his life playing and coaching hockey all over the world and has dedicated himself to bettering those around him. Rich grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and developed a passion for playing hockey with his brother, Graham while coached by his father, Bill Blakey.
As a former youth, college, and professional hockey player, Rich channeled his lifelong love of the sport into mentoring, coaching, and leading youth and collegiate hockey teams and programs in the Chicagoland area, including for Canlan Sports, the Northbrook Hockey League; Marion College; Marist High School; Loyola Academy Hockey Club; Shamrock Hockey Camp and School; Rocket Ice; Arc IceSports; the Golf Maine Park District; Niles Park District; Skokie Park District; and University of Illinois, Chicago.
After relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada in August 2022, Rich worked part-time as a youth on-ice instructor for Foley Entertainment at the Golden Vegas Knights and Henderson Silver Knights practice facilities.
Rich developed hundreds of young people in building their athletic abilities and guided them through discovery of their own love for the sport. He has spent his life helping and leading others - and now we are asking for help on his behalf.
In February 2023, Rich had a lung biopsy after an earlier diagnosis of Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD); he has since been in the care of pulmonologists and doctors. In early September 2023, he was having severe complications and was admitted to Summerlin Hospital Las Vegas. Soon after, he was air transported to the Lung Transplant Program at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck Medical Center, and after extensive evaluation and testing he was approved to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) Transplant list. His lung disease was so advanced that based on the severity of his situation, Rich was prioritized to receive a medically urgent transplant two days after being added to the list. He successfully underwent a double-lung transplant on 24th September 2023.
Organ transplantation is a miraculous procedure, and we are blessed and grateful that Rich was able to receive his transplant. However, we are learning that the lifelong costs related to an organ transplant are staggering; from medical bills leading up to and including the transplant surgery; medically-mandated short-term relocation to Los Angeles, California for post-transplant care at USC; and the lifetime of ongoing medical care and essential immunosuppressants and other drugs required to keep Rich’s body from rejecting his new lungs - and keep him alive.
Rich's significant other, Jane Lee is the organizer of this GoFundMe. Funds will deposit in a joint-account: Jane S. Lee, Richard C. Blakey for all Rich's necessary medical expenses related to his double-lung transplant.
We greatly appreciate anything you are able to give, now, in the future, or on a recurring basis. Thank you for supporting Rich’s transplant journey – and for helping to give back to a deserving individual who has done so much for others.
The Blakey, Litchfield, and Hillier Families