CHEK Upside: Victoria high school athlete starts basketball shoe charity for the less fortunate

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After losing his senior year basketball season to COVID-19, Max Miller decided to help the less fortunate achieve their own hoop dreams.

For as long as he can remember, Max Miller always had an affinity for basketball.

“Picked up a basketball and just fell in love with it automatically,” said Miller, a grade twelve student at Oak Bay Secondary School.

“He’s been playing or bouncing a basketball since he was about three or four years old,” said Paula Ferris, Max’s mother.

In a normal year, the smooth-shooting southpaw would be helping the perennial powerhouse Bays chase their seventh straight senior boys Island basketball title.

COVID-19 restrictions, however, forced the suspension of most high school and amateur sports across the country.

“For that to be taken away, it sucks, but you also got to look at the positives,” said the seventeen-year-old.

The pandemic has been a time of reflection for many and the young hoopster is no different.

So instead of sulking in his lost season, Miller took motivation from a time that changed him when he was ten years old.

“He gave away his first pair of basketball shoes when he was in grade five,” said Ferris, remembering the moment fondly.

“Just to see the gratitude in his face, just meant the world to me,” said Miller, after giving his shoes to a less fortunate teammate.

And now, grown up and with a little more free time, Miller is turning that good deed into a new charity project.

“It’s called Beaters to Heaters…..It’s basically me taking gently used basketball shoes and donating them to families in need, and for the young boys and girls in Victoria,” said Miller. “We’re up to fifty plus pairs in just four days, which is incredible.”

He credits his parents for assisting in his new endeavour.

In particular, Miller took a page out of his mother’s playbook who runs her own charity supporting a Victoria women’s shelter.

“I’m extremely proud of him,” said Ferris. “I knew he would do this one day and he was just waiting for the timing, and the timing just seemed perfect for this.”

Though he won’t be lifting any trophies in his senior year, Miller’s shooting for a legacy that goes well beyond the court.

“Just to spread the word and give other kids a chance is just something great to do.”

To donate basketball shoes or for more information, email Max Miller at [email protected]

Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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