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Vernon card collector taking hits for mental health

Vernon Morning Star - 5/30/2024

Need him. Got him.

Sports card collectors know the lingo when opening a new pack. You either have the card from a previous pack (got him) or you don't (need him).

A Vernon man is taking his love of hockey card collecting one step further in helping to raise funds for mental health.

Lucas Mitchell is an elementary school teacher by day, and a content creator away from the classroom. He has been posting sports card and hockey content on TikTok @WhatsUpLucMitch for the past three years, creating a good community, he said, with his followers.

Through the experience, Mitchell feels the hockey and sports card community has the capability to come together and do something special. In this case, raise $4,000 and awareness for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Mitchell created the Hits for Health series (with Lake Country's Pro Shops Sports as a sponsor) which has already raised close to the $4,000 goal for CMHA.

"It feels amazing that a hobby has turned into an online community and can bring people together to raise money and support for mental health," said Mitchell. "It's wild that I was going to set my initial goal at $500 and now we might have to set a new one if we make it to $4,000. I'm very grateful for everyone who has watched any of my videos, shared the Hits for Health fundraiser or donated to the cause."

The Hits For Health series is on all of Mitchell's social media pages (TikTok, Instagram and Facebook) during the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

On every game day, he will open up two packs of hockey cards. Every time a card is pulled with a player from a Canadian playoff team, he will donate money to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

"These pack openings will be shared on all my social media pages and you can follow along to see how much money we can raise during the playoffs," said Mitchell.

There's also a personal side to Mitchell's Hits For Health.

Mitchell is the son of late former Morning Star editor Glenn Mitchell, who took his own life in December 2020, losing an ongoing battle with depression. Lucas said his dad "struggled with his mental health for many years, but was doing everything he could try to better his situation."

"Losing my dad took a huge toll on my family, his friends, the community and so many people that loved him," said Lucas. "Glenn was a kind, inspirational, caring, and intelligent human being. He genuinely cared about everyone that he talked with and he always treated everyone with a high-level of respect. Even during the times he was struggling the most with his own mental health, my dad was still there to talk with other people and make sure that they were doing okay.

"My dad is an inspiration to me and he always pushed me and my brother (Justin) to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be."

Dad may have even helped Lucas from beyond.

Mitchell said he started getting into card collecting a few months before his dad died.

Two days after his dad's death, Lucas went to Tim Hortons and bought 40 packs of cards. He pulled a Sidney Crosby game-used jersey patch card, which had 1/1,800 odds of being found in a pack.

"So it felt like dad had something to do with me getting it," said Mitchell.

"Also I have loved Crosby since the 2010 Olympics so it felt even more special that it was a Crosby card. After this I was fully hooked on everything sports cards."

A few month later, Mitchell began posting almost daily on TikTok, mostly about sports and sports cards, and anything else that came to his mind. He was trying to bring joy and positivity to the online word. Social media content creation has always intrigued him, and Mitchell wanted to create content spreading positivity.

"After my dad passed, I pushed myself to create content online with a positive twist and it focused around sports cards," he said. "After about three-to-four years, I have 1,500-plus videos, and 20 million-plus views."

If you would like to support Mitchell, there are many ways to help out.

You can share the fundraiser on your social media pages promoting #HitsForHealth. You can also participate in the #HitsForHealth Challenge by buying packs of hockey cards, opening them and following the Donation Price Chart to see how much you should donate. Challenge others to participate in the challenge and make sure to use the #HitsForHealth on social media.

"People don't need to like hockey or hockey cards to support the series," said Mitchell. "They can show their support by donating, or simply by liking/sharing any of the posts."

Pro Shop Sports: Cards and Collectables in Lake Country has donated all the product to be opened during the series and also agreed to match Mitchell's donation to the CMHA. They can be found online at www.ProShopSports.ca or @ProShopSports on all socials. Pro Shop Sports is an Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer and have all hobby card needs.