From 6 to 99: People of all ages are rallying to fight COVID-19

June 25, 2020

Valued members of our community – of all ages – continue to come together in new and creative ways to support Sunnybrook’s fight against COVID-19. Here are five recent inspiring examples of philanthropy in action.

Jade.

Turning pine cones into COVID-19 response funding

When Jade's grandmother offered her a dime a pine cone to help clean up the yard, the six-year-old jumped at the chance.

“My grammy likes these mushrooms that grow in her backyard in the spring. They’re called morels," explains Jade. “She said that if I picked up the pine cones that were covering them she’d give me 10 cents for each cone."

Over the next two days, Jade collected 725 pine cones. While her family was impressed by her hard work, they were blown away by what came next.

"We thought she was saving for a Polly Pocket," says Jade’s mom Erin. "When she told us she wanted to donate to a hospital fighting the pandemic, I started crying. I was so proud she wanted to do something for someone else.”

After deciding on Sunnybrook's COVID-19 Response Fund, her extended family pitched in to raise her donation to more than $500.

Jade is thrilled. "It felt really good to donate, because maybe I’ll get to see all my family and friends again. I want to hug someone besides my mom, dad and sisters!"

Jade.

Cool to be kind

While eight-year-old Isaac eagerly awaits his allowance every week, he recently had a very specific plan for his earnings.

"I don’t like hearing about people hurting," he says. "I heard that Sunnybrook was looking for a vaccine for COVID-19, so I gave money to them for more research."

The concept of giving back isn't new to Isaac and his younger sister. Their parents encourage their children to split their $6 weekly allowance three ways, with portions divided between pocket money, savings for something special and donations to a meaningful cause.

"We think it’s important to teach our kids about giving back at a young age and I think they really enjoy it," explains Isaac’s mom Heather.

Isaac is proud that his donation will help researchers develop a vaccine for COVID-19, but he’s also hopeful for one more thing: "I don’t like needles, so I hope it’s a pill!"

Painting with a purpose

When Micah decided to use his paintings of flowers to raise money for Sunnybrook, he wasn't confident he'd reach his $100 goal. Now he’s exceeded it by nearly 20 fold.

"I remember Micah thought asking for a $10 donation in exchange for a painting was too much. We thought it would be just close family and friends pitching in," says his mom Samara. "But so many people have stepped up to support his efforts."

In just a few short weeks, Micah has raised $1,500 for Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 Response Fund and increased his goal to $2,000. He doesn't know what to make of his success, but admits "I feel really happy that I can help."

Micah is driven to support COVID-19 relief efforts because he wants to help save lives and, like a lot of kids, because he desperately misses his friends. Sunnybrook was an obvious choice because of its vital research – and because he was born there just eight years ago.

Abbey.

Not your average slumber party

Childhood friends Abbey, 18, Brooke, 17, and Eva, 18, have quickly become video conferencing experts, and decided to transform a recent chance to connect virtually into a fun fundraising event.

Hosting a virtual slumber party, they encouraged friends to buy tickets and spent the night together playing games, eating junk food and connecting with each other – all while raising more than $550 for Sunnybrook’s COVID-19 Response Fund to support those on the front lines of the pandemic.

"COVID-19 is something that has affected every single person in our lives," says Brooke.

Brooke's senior year of high school came to an abrupt end this year, without the prom and graduation ceremony she had envisioned. Meanwhile, Eva and Abbey returned home early from their first years of university and are uncertain what the next school year will look like.

But all three remain determined to do what they can to make the future brighter.

"Even something simple like hanging out with your friends over Zoom can make a difference," says Abbey. “Our slumber party shows that – no matter your age – there’s always a way to step up and help."

This isn't the first time the friends have worked together in support of a meaningful cause. Last year, they coordinated a fashion show at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in support of Sunnybrook's Family Navigation Project, which provides critical guidance and support to families in the Greater Toronto Area as they seek mental health and addictions services for their children.

George.

100 kilometres before 100

For 99-year-old George, raising thousands of dollars for COVID-19 research is quite literally a walk in the park.

He’s begun a campaign to walk around the path in his retirement home’s garden over 1,500 times, totalling 100 kilometers. Concerned about how future pandemics might affect his three great-grandchildren, George aims to raise $100,000 for vital research by his 100th birthday next spring. He’s committed to supporting both his local hospital and Sunnybrook, where he had life-saving brain surgery five years ago.

The Second World War Veteran recently explained to Global News: "It makes me feel good when I can help, I enjoy that. That’s a little thing for me to do.”

His daughter Sylvia created a GoFundMe account for his efforts, which has helped to raise more than $32,000 and counting. Her father has already surpassed the 50-kilometre mark and she’s not surprised. “He even said if he surpasses the one hundred, he’ll just keep on going as long as the donations keep coming in.”

In this together

If you’re feeling inspired by these stories and would like to host a virtual fundraiser in support of Sunnybrook’s fight against COVID-19, find out how to turn your next virtual hangout with family and friends into a fundraiser here. Thank you for coming together to support Sunnybrook when it matters most.