‘His heart is still beating’: Young track and field star remembered for giving the gift of life

‘His heart is still beating’: Young track and field star remembered for giving the gift of life

Not a day goes by that Scott and Amanda Cadman don’t think about their son Kirk.

On an afternoon in late June, the outdoor track at the University of Manitoba is quiet, and Kirk Cadman’s parents remember a time when their son was here every week, training and working to become a star athlete.

“Track four is where he started his career, and track four is the last race of his career,” said Scott Cadman, Kirk’s father.

“He was instrumental in helping others within the community. He took young athletes under his wing and released them into the world of athletics.”

This month’s Hometown Hero focuses on the life and legacy Kirk left on the circuit after he tragically passed away in a car accident in March 2023.

The 20-year-old donated multiple organs, including his heart, saving the lives of seven Manitoba residents.

Scott says despite the loss to the family, his son’s organ donation makes him a hero.

“We will walk with a hole in our hearts,” Scott said.

“But we will also know that Kirk’s gifts through donations have created a profound miracle for many others. His heart is still beating.”

Kirk started running at the age of 12. This despite the fact that his knee was dislocated at a young age, while doctors told him he would never be able to run with the same strength again.

He overcame those doubts to become one of Manitoba’s first-ever racewalkers. After placing fifth at the U-16 national championships, a year had passed since his injury and Kirk was determined to return to running and track records in 2019.

“Dads being dads, I was a little concerned,” Scott said.

“That said, we wanted to make sure Kirk could run, and he ran. He broke two provincial records, the 400 meter hurdles, and smashed the record by more than a second and a half.”

The other record included Kirk as part of the 2019 Winnipeg Optimist U-18 4×400 relay team.

This year, with the support of The Winnipeg Foundation, Athletics Manitoba and Winnipeg Optimist Athletics, Kirk’s family started a scholarship for athletes who share Kirk’s passion for running. It’s been a way for the family to help with the healing process.

“Everyone who came to this track was welcomed with open arms,” said Amanda Cadman, Kirk Cadman’s mother.

“He met some of his best lifelong friends through the circuit and it’s basically a family.”

On July 6, the family will host a ceremonial 400-meter racewalk to honor Kirk’s life, along with a bake sale at University Stadium on the University of Manitoba campus. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Scott said Athletics Manitoba has organized the Kirk Cadman Memorial Classic – an athletics event aimed at raising awareness about transplant and organ donation. The event commemorates Kirk’s athletic achievements and perseverance in sports.

Proceeds from the bake sale during the Kirk Cadman Memorial Classic will go to the Kirk Cadman Scholarship.

“We have some really good bakers in the community, so we have some running moms who donate some baked goods,” Amanda said.

“We’ve also had some T-shirt sales. I’ve sent out some letters to get some silent auction donations, so it’s just really important to our family to keep this going for years to come.”

Scott said the scholarship is an opportunity for future athletes to never give up on their dreams of becoming a gifted runner, just like their son was.

More information about the Kirk Cadman Memorial Classic can be found on the Athletics Manitoba website: