Andy Fantuz (CFL)

Chatham’s Andy Fantuz, an 11-year vet in the CFL, was named as the honourary campaign chair for the Foundation of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, who announced a re-launch this week of its final push for the $6.9 million Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Renewal Campaign.

Born and raised in Chatham, Fantuz grew up playing football for John McGregor Secondary School and continued his football career with the University of Western Ontario.

His 11-year professional CFL career included six seasons with Saskatchewan Roughriders and five seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a wide receiver.

He also made a crack at joining the NFL’s Chicago Bears one season, playing in some pre-season games.

In 2010, ‘Fantuz Flakes’ cereal was released across Canada in celebration of ‘100 years of the Roughriders’ and Fantuz’s career.

“I know first hand how important it is getting the proper imaging, I’ve had it many, many times,” Fantuz said.

“A couple of times, it may have saved my life or at least my career. But the scope goes way beyond sports and athletics. A lot more serious health issues need this equipment and doctors need to be able to use the top-of-the-line stuff for diagnosis. And it also will attract new physicians to the area and just improve Chatham-Kent as a community. I’m honoured to be a part of this important campaign.”

Fantuz re-joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season in a new role, taking on the position of player development coordinator heading into the 2017 season.

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old continues to rehabilitate from a torn ACL suffered on Oct. 28, 2016.

Fantuz was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2016 after posting 101 receptions for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games with the Tiger-Cats. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound receiver became the first player in Tiger-Cats franchise history to record 100 receptions in a single season, surpassing that mark on October 21 at Ottawa.

He finished the season ranked fifth in CFL receptions (101) and receiving targets (128) despite missing the final regular season game and playoffs with a torn ACL.

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