Raymond Hardisty has won the hearts of thousands, but it’s his heart that earned him a reward he won’t soon forget.

Hardisty had the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Blue Jays game on Wednesday for his tireless efforts to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

“It was fun.  I’ve been to Toronto a lot as a kid to the children’s hospital for appointments, but, like wow!  I have never, ever been down on the baseball diamond before.”

The 29-year-old Stayner man battled cancer as a child and received a bone marrow transplant before his fifth birthday.  He’s raised more than 30-thousand dollars over the years to support the charity and he’s not stopping there.

He was busy serving up blizzards on Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen on Thursday.  He’s been working at the Stayner Dairy Queen for a decade.  Most of his co-workers were in Toronto at the game to cheer him on.

“Oh my gosh! There was so much excitement!  Everyone had butterflies, we were so excited,” said Sherry Schapp, one of the owners at Dairy Queen.  She says SickKids Hospital has a special place in the hearts of the Stayner community because of Raymond and says their Dairy Queen raised more than 24-thousand dollars through the Miracle Treat Day last year. 

To date, more than $135 million has been raised through this campaign across Canada.

There’s no denying the pride Raymond’s sister Lisa has for her brother.  “It’s amazing what one person can do with a little piece of paper.  He walks around our community farmers markets with a little sign and the power that it has to raise money, it’s just awesome.”

Customers paused throughout the day to pat Hardisty on the back and congratulate him. 

He says he feels the support from the entire community.

“It’s excellent.  A lot of people who come out know what I’ve been through and they want to show their love and support, so, I thank you.”