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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Fans put Hart first
Well-wishers raise $6,000 for charity

By MELISSA RIDGEN -- Calgary Sun

  CALGARY -- Big-hearted Calgarians showed up en masse yesterday to wish wrestling hero Bret (Hitman) Hart well while raising more than $6,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A steady stream of supporters made their way to the Sun-CJAY 92 Get Well Soon Bret Hart celebration in the parking lot of Chinook Center between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. to sign a massive card for the stroke-stricken 45-year-old Calgarian.

The Hitman was released from the hospital last Thursday, but couldn't attend the event because it conflicted with his physiotherapy.

"It's really gratifying and inspiring for Bret," brother Bruce Hart said of the public's support.

"He's quite moved that so many people see fit to come out and get behind him."

Most of the Hart family popped in to thank well-wishers, including patriarch Stu.

"This is good for my dad, too," Bruce Hart said.

"We've had some turmoil and hit a few potholes in the road lately and this is really nice for him -- and it's for a good cause, too."

Nine-year-old Colin Ireland and his mom Sandy were among those who stopped to sign the card and munch on a Spolumbo's sausage breakfast.

Tim Hortons provided coffee, and Coca-Cola and Fruitopia offered their tasty beverages.

"I came mostly because he's a Calgarian," said Colin.

"And because we're wrestling fans," his mom added.

The Sun's Chris "On Six" Gerritsen -- who organized the event along with CJAY's Gerry Forbes -- was im-pressed by the hundreds who showed up.

"It's a good sign when people are looking for space to put their names," he said.

Shawn Hessel, 23, was passing through Calgary from Regina on his way to Vancouver when he heard a radio broadcast about the Get Well celebration.

"I've been a fan of Bret Hart's since I was old enough to watch wrestling on TV, and there was no way I was going through Calgary without stopping to sign his card," Hessel said.

The retired pro wrestler suffered a stroke June 24, either before or after a fall from his bike on a Bow River path where he hit a pothole.

He is fighting to regain full use of his left side.

More on Bret Hart




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