By Reshanthy Vijayarah
TORONTO: Tamil Canadians raised $65,000 for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital at the annual charity walk-a-thon here on Sunday.
Top political leaders and the officers from Toronto Police, Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Emergency Medical Services joined the 5th annual walk-a-thon organized by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) from Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough.
The CTC said they aim to raise the amount to $100,000 for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital by the end of the year.
Past beneficiaries of the Tamil walk-a-thon include the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ($50,000) in 2012, Amnesty International ($50,000 ) in 2011, the Canadian Cancer Society ($35,000) in 2010 and the Sick Kids Foundation ($42,000) in 2009.
Since its inception in 2009, the Tamil walk-a-thon has raised over $240,000 for charitable causes.
This year’s beneficiary Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation is Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital that provides treatment, research and education services for childhood disability.
The hospital is known as a pioneer in treatment, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that enable children with disabilities to participate fully in life. About 7,000 children receive these services each year.
“We, at the Canadian Tamil Congress, want to give back to the country we love and have come to call our new home,’’ said Christeen Seevaratnam, co-chair of the walk-a-thon committee.
“That’s why we choose different charities and this year, we chose Holland Bloorview.’’
She also thanked the law firm of Himelfarb Proszanski in Toronto for sponsoring the event in a big way.
Prominent among those who attended the walk-a-thon were Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Roxanne James, MP for Scarborough-Centre; Paul Calandra, MP for Oakridges-Markham; Rathika Sitsabaiesan, MP for Scarborough-Rouge River; John McKay, MP for Scarborough-Guildwood; Soo Wong, MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt; Councillor Logan Kanapathi of Markham, York Region School Board Trustee Juanita Nathan, Shan Thayaparan and Platinum Sponsor David Himelfarb.
Constable Johnny Bobbili of Toronto Police Services, Platoon Chief John Thompson of Toronto Fire Services and a Toronto Emergency Medical Services official also brought messages from their respective organizations.
Emma Hill, a patient from Holland Bloorview who was present at the walk-a-thon, said, “When I arrived from the Hospital for Sick kids, I couldn’t walk, stand, eat or even breathe on my own. You see, when a child like me arrives from Sick Kids Hospital, it takes intensive rehabilitation to get back home. I learned to eat, speak and breathe again. You are all part of our story.’’
Christine Hill, Emma’s mother, added, “This shouldn’t happen to any family, and Holland Bloorview was very welcoming. I’ve seen incredible things that happened there. This event is amazing to see the Tamil community come together and to give back to society. It feels great and like everyone is part of Holland Bloorview; it feels like we are part of this organization and the Tamil community.’’
A unique feature of this year’s walk-a-thon was a huge float with live music on board.
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