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Aaron Bank-Sedore’s legacy will help kids access sport and play

January 2, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Just a few short weeks ago, there was a stir amongst students at Aurora High School.

A football landing on a roof is not normally a cause for too much concern, but this was no ordinary football; it was a football that had, in recent months, become synonymous with student Aaron Bank-Sedore, a budding athlete who lost his life to suicide this past fall.

Following his passing, his friends and fellow students were gifted his favourite football by his family and it had been making the rounds of the school, collecting signatures along the way, in his memory.

One over-zealous toss, however, sent the ball skyward, landing in a precarious position just out of sight, and the students didn’t know what to do – after all, if someone had to climb up on a school roof every time a ball landed up there, there would hardly be a chance to pack away the ladder – but once word spread that it was Aaron’s ball up there, the school sprang into action to retrieve it for his peers.

Aaron Bank-Sedore’s family knows all too well that the simple pleasure of throwing a football around is sometimes financially out of reach for a youngster, and now his mom, Karen Bank, is hard at work creating a lasting legacy in her son’s name, one which is dedicated to helping kids from financially-challenged families share the passions that her son so enjoyed.

“What I would like to be remembered and known about Aaron is that he was the guy that built people up,” says Karen.

And that’s just what she is trying to do, working with local fundraisers to provide schools and individual students with sports gear that might otherwise be unavailable to them.

“Sports have always been in our family,” she says, “and he was a natural at it. He mostly played soccer and then, as he got older, he played hockey as well – and he was also into archery, which a lot of people don’t know. Then, last year, all of a sudden, his passion became football.”

Joining up with the York Lions football team, his passion only grew. In fact, it grew so much that Karen says she had to step up her own game, working to build up her own cursory knowledge of football just to keep up.

“He told me that all he wanted for Christmas was football gear,” she recalls. “What that meant, I don’t know for sure, but it was a big thing for him. You could tell. He was just in love with it.”

Karen is conscious of the fact that Aaron was by no means alone in his passion and there were probably many other kids across the community who were also hoping to find football and other sporting gear under their Christmas trees this year, but may have had to make do without for family financial and other circumstances.

When Aaron was just starting out as an athlete, Karen was very much in this situation. Her family, she says, was able to afford what he needed to set out on the soccer pitch, but hockey proved a greater challenge. They were recipients of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, a foundation aimed at giving kids access to sport and play, along with a further boost from the Optimist Club of Aurora.

Now, in Aaron’s name, she’s paying it forward.

“I have two goals with this project,” she says. “I want to carry on Aaron’s wish for sports to be inclusive for everyone. I think that’s pretty incredible for a 15-year-old kid to be thinking about other kids who might not have opportunities to play football and want to include them. It meant a lot to me that he did that. The idea of [distributing] sports balls for kids to play with at lunch or after school aligns with what he was thinking. It is not just for the kids who are taking phys-ed, it is not just for the kids that are registered in sports, it is for anyone who just wants to grab a ball and try it out.

“He just wanted everyone to be included and have fun with it.”

Since developing her idea and taking it to various individuals in the community, from staff at the Town of Aurora to members of local service clubs, the response she has received has been overwhelming. Soccer balls have steadily rolled in, as have a handful of footballs, but she and supporters of the cause are looking to do much more and welcome community donations to make it happen.

In addition to the sports balls, Karen is planning for the teens who knew Aaron or were impacted by his life, to come together to paint and decorate wooden bins to store the donations at various schools around Aurora, each of which will bear a memorial plaque in his name.

“From everything that the students have shared with me, what stands out the most and what I would like to be remembered and known about Aaron is that he was the guy that built other people up,” says Karen. “He wanted everyone to feel good and I had students that came to me and said, ‘Aaron was my first friend when I moved to Canada,’ or ‘Aaron was my first friend when I started at Aurora Heights,’ or ‘He was the first person who talked to me in high school when I was nervous.’ I just heard countless comments like that, and knowing he wanted everyone to be included in what he was doing was inspiring. I have a box filled with letters from students at Aurora High and it was like everyone got together and wrote the same message in their own words: that he was kind and generous, he knew how to light up a room, help people stay brighter – and that’s who he was.

“Anything in the future that has his name on it, that’s what it stands for: making kids feel good.”

Aaron Bank-Sedore is survived by parents Karen Bank (Carla Fernandes) and Kelly Sedore (Michelle Vaughan), and his brothers and sisters.

For more information on how to support Karen Bank’s program in memory of Aaron Bank-Sedore, contact Sandy Bundy at

By Brock Weir



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