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Canadian bipolar group surprised by Charlie Sheen fundraiser

April 15, 2011 |  3:52 pm

Sheen It's abundantly clear that the freewheeling Charlie Sheen does as he pleases, which has landed him in a considerable amount of hot water with his TV bosses.

But his off-the-cuff decision Friday to host a charity fundraiser for a Canadian bipolar disorder group got nothing but praise from the nonprofit's leadership, though they were blindsided by it all.

Sheen announced via Twitter that he would lead a fundraising walk in Toronto ahead of his second scheduled show there on his Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option tour.

Kaj Korvela, executive director of the Calgary-based Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders, told Show Tracker on Friday that he was completely surprised by Sheen's offer and hasn't had any direct contact with the embattled TV star.

After Sheen's Twitter remarks went out, OBAD started receiving media calls, tipping executives there to the plans. Shortly thereafter, one of Sheen's reps called OBAD and told Korvela that Sheen "spontaneously decided to do a fundraising walk and deemed us the recipient of the funds," Korvela said.

"We didn't know it was coming, and we have no idea what to expect," Korvela said.

As a small nonprofit group, OBAD will be happy to have whatever money is raised, Korvela said, along with the matching donations that Sheen has promised. There's no formal arrangement between Sheen and the group, though, and he's not an OBAD spokesman.

Bipolar disorder can sometimes be "the flavor of the week" as far as illnesses in the news go, Korvela said, but there's value in high-profile celebrities speaking out about it.

"It's totally about awareness, and if Charlie Sheen can bring it to the public's attention then that's a good thing," Korvela said. "We're not commenting on Charlie Sheen or whatever he's dealing with, but he's decided to raise money for our group and we're OK with that."

Sheen has not publicly said he suffers from the disorder, and in fact he's denied it, telling ABC News' Andrea Channing that he was "bi-winning." Korvela said he'd never armchair diagnose anyone and didn't speculate on why Sheen chose OBAD as a fundraising benefactor.

Korvela had been vaguely aware of Sheen's live performances in Canada, but said the outreach to OBAD was wholly unexpected.

"It's just one of those crazy things, to use a bad term," he said. "It dropped on us, but maybe it'll bring the issue to the forefront."

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-- T.L. Stanley

Photo: Charlie Sheen attends the official after-party for his Violemt Torpedo of Truth tour Thursday in Toronto. Credit: George Pimentel / Getty Images

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