LONDON, ONT. -- Three former Maple Leafs legends will headline this year’s London Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction in April.

Wendel Clark, Gary Leeman and Russ Courtnall will be at RBC Place for the 64th annual event which benefits the Children’s Health Foundation and the Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC).

The sportsperson of the year is Canadian pole vaulter and Londoner Alysha Newman.

The event benefits children and youth to reach beyond disability. Children like 14-year-old Samuel Van Arnham, who is this year's TVCC ambassador.

The Grade 9 student at Laurier Secondary School is in a wheelchair due to spina bifida. He uses the adapted fitness centre at Victoria Hospital a couple times per week.

"I use the treadmill, rowing machine, bike stepper and do exercises here," says Van Arnham. "All of these machines help me get stronger."

The fitness centre is funded in part due to the funds raised from the annual volunteer-organized sports dinner.

"It’s a program that has specialized equipment," says Jill Craven, the TVCC CEO. "It helps people like Samuel use the gym and have access to a physical routine and helps an active lifestyle."

To see proof that TVCC is beneficial, you have to look no farther than this year's event co-chairs. Jeremy Grace and Chris Cuneen are both graduates of the centre. Grace was a former TVCC ambassador.

"The money is able to change the lives of a number of children," says Grace. "I benefitted too, and would not be here without all the equipment and money that this event has provided."

Organizers say this year's event will run like a hockey game. It will have three periods, with a couple intermissions to make it shorter and faster paced. Grace says after running the same format for years, it was time for a change.

"This is a great opportunity to see these celebrities, but also great to see people like Samuel tell their stories," adds Grace. "You will not only see celebrities but feel the impact too."

Tickets are now on sale online at