SickKids starts new tradition with Family Day Race

The children's hospital launches a campaign to promote its first-ever signature event, debuting this year on the Family Day holiday in Toronto.

With no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or fireworks display traditions to claim it, SickKids Hospital is hoping to start a new tradition for Ontarians on the Family Day holiday: altruism.

The hospital is kicking off its first-ever signature fundraising event on Feb. 15, Ontario’s Family Day holiday. Called The Family Day Race, the event is designed to promote awareness of the SickKids Hospital, raise funds, and to provide a family-oriented activity for Torontonians during the holiday.

Supported with a media campaign via its sponsors, including 30-second ads on Toronto radio station Boom 97.3 and print ads in the Toronto Star, the event takes place in Toronto’s PATH, an underground warren of tunnels in Toronto’s downtown. Over the course of two hours, participants will ‘race’ around the PATH to solve different puzzles and brainteasers. Points are collected for each puzzle solved, and the harder the puzzle, the more points earned.

The decision to launch a signature fundraising and awareness event – traditionally, fundraising events are organized by supporters and third parties – was made last year and backed by substantial research into what type of event and when would be most effective, Christy Sampson, fundraising events manager, SickKids Foundation, tells MiC.

‘We looked at the fact that Family Day is a statutory holiday with no real tradition like other holidays and we really noticed that there wasn’t a lot happening on Family Day in the GTA,’ she explains. ‘We wanted to start our own tradition and give families a really great activity for Family Day and an opportunity to do something for a great cause. It’s a really good natural fit with SickKids Hospital and Family Day.’

The event is designed to be for all ages and abilities – in line with the hospital’s mandate to treat whole families rather than just the child – and SickKids Foundation hopes each team or participant will raise a minimum of $150.

The Family Day Race follows the launch of a new social media video initiative in December by the SickKids Foundation and a content-sharing sponsorship agreement with the National Post in November.