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Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada Selected as Recipient for Tim Hortons Annual Smile Cookie Campaign in Durham Region

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100% of the campaign funds raised will go towards brightening the lives of seriously ill Durham Region children.

TORONTO, ON (September 13, 2018) – Beginning September 17th, citizens of Durham Region will be bursting with smiles as Tim Hortons kicks off their delectable annual #SmileCookie campaign. This year, Tim Hortons stores in the region have selected Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada as their official Smile Cookie partner. Starlight Canada is an organization that aims to brighten the lives of seriously ill children through a number of in and out-of-hospital programs.

This year, Starlight Canada will receive 100% of the Smile Cookie sales to fund programs in the Durham region, much like those provided to Starlight alumni ambassador and Durham resident, Emily. Emily was born with Spinda Bifida, a severe birth defect of the spine that has affected all aspects of her life. Throughout her journey, Emily has endured nine surgeries, fifteen invasive procedures and is constantly battling infections. At the age of 11, Emily was enrolled with Starlight Children’s Foundation and received a very special wish: a trip to Disney!

“Starlight has done an amazing job at keeping a smile on my face, and has had such a huge impact on my life,” says Emily. “My hope is that on the week of September 17, the generous people of Durham will make many trips to their local Tim Hortons and purchase a cookie to support Starlight and our community.”

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 3.02.44 PM

“We are honoured and very thankful to be selected as the Durham Region official Tim Hortons Smile Cookie partner,” says Vice President of Development (and Durham resident), Trevor Dicaire, Starlight Canada. “Throughout the entirety of this week; when you get a smile, you’ll give a smile to thousands of seriously ill children.”

Funds raised this year will bring Fun Centers (mobile entertainment units featuring a flat screen television and a Nintendo Wii U gaming system preloaded with a wide variety of games), Comfort Kits (kits packed with a range of entertainment and distraction activities), Great Escapes (movie screenings, harbour cruises, holiday parties, sporting events and picnics), Day Brighteners (tickets to a concert, sporting event, museum and attractions) and Wishes directly to sick children in Durham.

From September 17th to 23rd, those living in Ajax, Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle, Orono, Oshawa, Pickering, Port Perry, Uxbridge and Whitby can support Starlight by dropping in to their local Tim Horton’s to purchase a Smile Cookie for $1.00.

About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Hashtag: #SmileCookie

About Tim Hortons®:

Tim Hortons®, part of Restaurant Brands International, is one of North America’s largest restaurant chains operating in the quick service segment. Founded as a single location in Canada in 1964, Tim Hortons appeals to a broad range of guest tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, hot and cold specialty drinks (including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots), specialty teas and fruit smoothies, fresh baked goods, grilled Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, soups, prepared foods and other food products. Tim Hortons has more than 4,700 system wide restaurants located in Canada, the United States and around the world. More information about the company is available at www.timhortons.com.

For additional photos or interview requests, please contact:

Cory Stewart | Embrace Disruption PR 

p: 647.638.1586 | e: cory@embracedisruption.com

    Canadian ElectroPop Artist Velvet Code Breaks His Five Year Silence with New Single from Upcoming Sophomore Album

    Award-winning musician addresses the subject of mental health with September 12 release, “Break The Silence”.

    TORONTO, ON (August 21, 2018) – Award-winning Canadian electropop artist Velvet Code is thrilled to announce the September 12, 2018 release of his highly-anticipated first single “Break The Silence”, from his upcoming sophomore album. Collaborating with industry legend Wendy Starland (the woman responsible for developing and discovering Lady Gaga), “Break The Silence” is being billed as a confident follow-up to Code’s previously acclaimed work, which has been featured on hit television shows such as Jersey Shore and The Hills.

    Fresh from signing with the revolutionary AWAL/Kobalt label (representing artists like David Guetta and R3HAB), Velvet’s new single aims to shine light on the pressing issue of mental health. Throughout his career, the openly gay musician has dealt with varying degrees of depression and anxiety, and hopes that messages in his Freddy Mercury, Depeche Mode and Imagine Dragons influenced music will help listeners going through difficult times.

    Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 9.13.12 AM

    “With this new single and album, I’ve reached deep into my soul to expose the truth about my life over the last number of years,” says Velvet. “When writing Break The Silence, I was dealing with issues surrounding my own self-worth — resulting in this release being the most brutally honest version of me. I hope that listeners can relate, gain clarity, and realize that they are not alone in their struggles.”

    “Velvet Code combines the influences of infectious melodies from the 80’s with a modern edge,” says Wendy Starland. “There’s an awesome fan base waiting to sing along with these songs from the soul. Velvet Code is all heart.”

    No stranger to main-stream media, Velvet Code has been praised by the likes of Perez Hilton, Pop Justice, and Digital Spy (among many others), and has toured with popular electropunk band Mindless Self Indulgence. When writing his debut album “Black.Blue.Blind”, Velvet worked with legendary producer Mark Saunders (Shiny Toy Guns, Erasure, The Cure) and received the “Dance/Electronica – Song of the Year” award for his song “Say You Love Me” at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards.

    In 2013, Velvet released “Get Outta My House”, which appeared on the Billboard Dance music charts for 15 weeks and peaked at #19. The single also spent 10 weeks on the UK Music Week Upfront Club Charts where it peaked at #3. Since 2013, Velvet has spent his time working on his follow up to “Black.Blue.Blind”, while also writing songs for other prominent artists.

    Fans can expect a full-length album entitled “Dreams and Nightmares” from Velvet Code this fall. The album is a collection of real-life stories from Velvet’s personal experiences over the past five years.

    “My hope is that people can relate to this album in some way, to know that we all struggle, but it’s never hopeless, and then in that moment, forget about their problems and just hit the dance floor,” says Velvet Code

    ‘Break The Silence’ will be available on all major music platforms beginning September 12, 2018, including Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, ClaroMusica, Saavn, MediaNet, and Shazam.

     

    About Velvet Code:

    Velvet Code is a Canadian electropop artist, known for his heavy 80’s musical influences and addictive dance floor tracks. A fixture on the Billboard, Dance and Club charts, the award-winning musician released his debut album ‘Black.Blue.Blind.’ in 2007. His sophomore album ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ is due to be released this fall.

    Website: http://www.velvetcode.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/velvetcodeofficial/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/velvetcodemusic

    Instagram: http://instagram.com/velvetcodeofficial

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/velvetcodeworld

    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7EZWiujk2DXkuWUsSaUCKd

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/bw/artist/velvet-code/272489221

    Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/velvet-code/272489221

    Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/artist/68898

     

    About Wendy Starland:

     

    Wendy Starland discovered & developed Lady Gaga, was honoured by the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame, contributed to Grammy nominated on Moby’s album Last Night, and was named VH1’s “Best Emerging Artist.” She is also a featured judge on the #1 hit TV show in France, Les Anges, which is in its 10th season. With over 100 songs licensed, Starland has worked and performed with Lady Gaga, Moby, Snoop Dogg, Wu Tang Clan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Capone, Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Steve Aoki, Sheryl Crow, Jack White, ACO Val Vibrata Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Luisella Chiarini, MTV, VH1, NBC, ABC, E!, CBS, and FOX.

      Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat, Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing, Hosts #WeAreTheChange Summer Festival and Conference for Women this July 13 to 15

      WeAREtheChange_June

      Renowned Bancroft-based retreat will showcase world-class speakers, advocates and workshops at unique event this summer

      TORONTO, ON (June 21, 2018) – This July 13th to 15th, Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing (2004 Bay Lake Road, Bancroft, Ontario) will play host to the ground-breaking women’s festival and conference, #WeAreTheChange. Hosted by Grail Springs founder Madeleine Marentette and MC’d by award-winning comedian Carla Collins, the event aims to help women define, shape and lead meaningful social change in people, animals and the planet. Featuring an all-star group of workshops and speakers, the event will also feature an outdoor spa, morning yoga, an evening sound bath concert, opening and closing ceremonies, music, drumming, an evening forest illumination walk, and many more activities.

      For just over 24 years, Grail Springs has been dedicated to improving the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of their guests. Located across one hundred acres in the heart of the Canadian Shield, #WeAreTheChange will provide attendees with a restorative and rejuvenating agenda, brimming with activities geared to defining and shaping a better future for themselves and others.

      Speakers and workshop leaders at this year’s #WeAreTheChange will include: Christine Luckasavitch, Algonquin Anishinaabekwe of the Crane Clan; Evita Ochel, The Healthytarian; Dr. Zoe Lumiere, Allowing Love; Sara Bingham, Women’s March Canada; Jennifer Love, One More Woman Movement; Theresa Laurico, Socialight Canada; Joanne McArthur, WEAnimals; Vera Lopez, Spirits of the Earth; Helga Soley Vidars, Eagle Women Global; Nancy Peckford, Equal Voice Canada; Brigitte Breau and Marketa Schusterova, Sea Shepherd; Sarah Buchanan, Environmental Defense Canada and Cathy Mines, United Hearts of Allies.

      In addition to the speakers and workshops, conference members will enjoy a Shamanic Sound Meditation (designed to induce a deep state of relaxation and healing for the mind, body and spirit), outdoor yoga, a luxurious and relaxing mud bake, a traditional indigenous water ceremony and a healing forest illumination walk.

      “With movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, 2018 has been a year of great change and progress for women across the globe,” says Founder & CEO, Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing’s Madeleine Marentette. “At Grail Springs, we strive to provide a sanctuary for individuals to improve their lives. We are very much looking forward to connecting with women from all walks of life at #WeAreTheChange, helping them to make a meaningful impact and inspire change within their many different communities.”

      Recently recognized as Canada’s Best Wellness Retreat by the World Spa Awards, Grail Springs is known for their educational and specialized treatment processes. The centre welcomes guests year-round from all over the world to experience their healing alkaline waters, saunas, salt tubs and a state-of-the-art spa.

      Tickets for this year’s #WeAreTheChange festival and conference start at $75 and can be purchased at http://www.grailsprings.com/festival-and-conference.

       

      About Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing:

      Located in the Mineral Capital of Canada, and the oldest exposed rock in the world, Grail Springs is close enough for an easy drive from Toronto International Airport, yet far enough to feel you have escaped to another world. With hundreds of acres of pristine forest, walking trails, crystal outcrop, abundant wildlife, meditation gardens and a curative spring-fed lake, individuals are inspired by the stunning natural beauty and are recharged by the potent healing environment that supports them.

      Website: https://www.grailsprings.com/

      Twitter: https://twitter.com/grailsprings

      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrailSpringsWellnessRetreat

      YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MadeleineGrail

      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grailspringswellnessretreat/

       

      For photos, interviews, media requests and additional information, please contact:

      Cory Stewart, EDPR, email: cory@embracedisruption.com, phone: 647.638.1586

       

        Young Winnipeg Boy with Cystic Fibrosis to Receive Shopping Spree at Toys”R”Us Canada Store this Summer

        Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada and Toys”R”Us (Canada) Ltd. will gift shopping sprees to 10 seriously ill Canadian children to help them create much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

        WINNIPEG, MB (June 20, 2018)- On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Toys”R”Us Canada in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada will provide nine-year-old Conner, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, with a 3-Minute Dash shopping spree at a local  Toys”R”Us store (1910 Pembina Hwy, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 4S5). Starting at 7:00 a.m., Conner will have the chance to race through the store with his family and fill shopping carts with as many free toys as possible within a three-minute timeframe. The annual 3-Minute Dash program was designed to provide seriously ill children with much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

        Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 1.20.05 PM

        More about Conner

        Conner is a spirited nine-year-old boy (turning 10 on August 7), who loves video gaming, bike and scooter riding and playing soccer. After countless hours spent in hospital, at both visits and check-ups, Conner is thrilled to have won this year’s Winnipeg dash. He hopes to pick up a PS4 and a bluetooth speaker while navigating the store on July 24.

        The 3-Minute Dash program is donated by Toys”R”Us Canada as part of their long-standing partnership with Starlight Canada and has been expanded to gift 10 Canadian families with shopping sprees in Barrie and Toronto in Ontario; Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Pembina, Manitoba; Regina, Saskatchewan; Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past five years, dash recipients have been randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.

        “On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf. “Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope. We are beyond thrilled to have generous partners in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, who have helped us create initiatives like the 3-Minute Dash for our very deserving Starlight families.”

        Over the past 20 years, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have been and continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Presenting Sponsor of the Starlight Gala and donations to in and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $19 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause.

        “We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 10 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada. “At Toys”R”Us Canada, we believe that play is a right and we will champion the power of play for children across the country.  Play inspires endless possibilities of fun, imagination and wonder and for the families who take part in the shopping sprees, the Dashes offer their children much needed moments of playful escape on their journey.”

         

        This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including: 

        • 85 Hospital Grants - Monetary funding to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children.
        • 10,500 ER Admit Kits - A variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays.
        • 7,000 Baby & Toddler Fun Kits - Cuddly toys and games to distract very young children during unpleasant hospital stays.
        • Baby Resources for Hospitals Program – Supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centers along with special infant seats to cover 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.

         

        For more information, media accreditation to attend dashes, photos or interview requests, please contact:

        Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com, 647.638.1586

         

        About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

        Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

        Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

        Hashtag: #StarDash

        About Toys”R”Us, Canada:

        Since 1983, Toys“R”Us Canada has been Canada’s leading dedicated specialty retailer of toys and baby products.  As Canada’s trend authority in toys and baby products, the company brings national brands, exclusive products, innovative loyalty programs and unique partnerships to Canadians at its 82 stores across Canada and through its e-commerce sites Toysrus.ca and Babiesrus.ca.  Committed to giving back to our communities, we focus our charity efforts on supporting children and their families whether enhancing resources and services, helping development through play or offering distraction and encouragement to seriously ill children.  Toys”R”Us Canada is a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.  For store locations and convenient online shopping, visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

          Two Seriously Ill Children To Receive Shopping Sprees in Langley and Kamloops Toys”R”Us, Canada Stores this Summer

          tarlight Children’s Foundation™ Canada and Toys”R”Us, Canada will gift shopping sprees to 10 seriously ill Canadian children to help them create much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

          VANCOUVER, B.C. (June 5, 2018)- This July, Toys”R”Us, Canada in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada will provide nine-year-old Savanna from Kamloops (who suffers from Spastic Cerebral Palsy and Autism) and nine-year-old Charlie-Anne from Langley (who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1) with a 3-Minute Dash shopping spree at their local Toys”R”Us stores. Both girls will have the chance to race through the store with their families and fill shopping carts with as many free toys as possible within a three-minute timeframe. The annual 3-Minute Dash program was designed to provide seriously ill children with much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

          The British Columbia 3-Minute Dash details are as follows:

            • Kamloops, B.C.: July 9, 2018 at 7:00 a.m. for Savanna at Columbia Place (100-500 Notredame Drive)
            • Langley, B.C.: July 10, 2018 at 7:00 a.m. for Charlie-Anne at Willowbrook Mall (19705 Fraser Highway)

          Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 1.24.05 PM

          About Savanna from Kamloops:

          Nine-year-old Savanna is a smart, chatty, social, funny child, who was born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. Throughout her journey, Savanna was diagnosed with brain damage, autism and now relies on a wheelchair for transportation. A fan of singing, playing musical instruments and watching America’s Next Top Model, Savanna can’t wait to pick up a karaoke machine at her July 9th dash!

          About Charlie-Anne from Langley:

          When Charlie was just 6 months old she was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 and given a few months to live. At nine-years-old, after many hospitalizations and close calls she is doing better than ever. Charlie-Anne loves to play video games, read and exploring the city. A big fan of My Little Pony, she can’t wait for her dash on July 10th!

          The 3-Minute Dash program is donated by Toys”R”Us, Canada as part of their long-standing partnership with Starlight Canada and has been expanded to gift 10 Canadian families with shopping sprees in Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia, Edmonton, Alberta, Pembina, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past five years, dash recipients have been randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.

          “On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf. “Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope. We are beyond thrilled to have generous partners in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, who have helped us create initiatives like the 3-Minute Dash for our very deserving Starlight families.”

          Over the past 20 years, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have been and continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Presenting Sponsor of the Starlight Gala and donations to in and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $19 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause.

          “We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 10 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada. “At Toys”R”Us Canada, we believe that play is a right and we will champion the power of play for children across the country.  Play inspires endless possibilities of fun, imagination and wonder and for the families who take part in the shopping sprees, the Dashes offer their children much needed moments of playful escape on their journey.”

           

          This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including: 

          • 85 Hospital Grants - Monetary funding to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children.
          • 10,500 ER Admit Kits - A variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays.
          • 7,000 Baby & Toddler Fun Kits - Cuddly toys and games to distract very young children during unpleasant hospital stays.
          • Baby Resources for Hospitals Program – Supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centers along with special infant seats to cover 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.

           

          For more information, media accreditation to attend dashes, photos or interview requests, please contact:

          Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com, 647.638.1586

           

          About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

          Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

          Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

          Hashtag: #StarDash

          About Toys”R”Us, Canada:

          Since 1983, Toys “R” Us Canada has been Canada’s leading dedicated specialty retailer of toys and baby products.  Recognized as Canada’s trend authority in toys and baby products, the company brings national brands, exclusive products, innovative loyalty programs and unique partnerships to Canadians at its 82 stores across Canada and through its e-commerce sites Toysrus.ca and Babiesrus.ca.  Committed to giving back to our communities, we focus our charity efforts on supporting children and their families whether enhancing resources and services, helping development through play or offering distraction and encouragement to seriously ill children.  Toys “R” Us Canada is a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. For store locations and convenient online shopping, visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

            Toronto Girl Born with Spina Bifida To Receive Shopping Spree at Toys”R”Us, Canada Store this Summer

            Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada and Toys”R”Us, Canada will gift shopping sprees to 10 seriously ill Canadian children to help them create much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

            TORONTO, ON (May 31, 2018)- On June 28, 2018, Toys”R”Us, Canada in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada will provide seven-year-old Alejandra, who suffers from spina bifida and hydrocephalus, from Toronto with a 3-Minute Dash shopping spree at Toys”R”Us (690 Evans Avenue, Etobicoke, M9C 1A1). Starting at 7:00 a.m., Alejandra will have the chance to race through the store with her family and fill shopping carts with as many free toys as possible within a three-minute timeframe. The annual 3-Minute Dash program was designed to provide seriously ill children with much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

            Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 12.20.13 PM

            More about Alejandra

            Despite the physical and mental challenges of her condition, seven-year-old Alejandra always has a smile on her face that lights up any room. Born with spina bifida (a spinal cord condition) and hydrocephalus (a condition that accumulates in cerebrospinal fluid in the brain), Alejandra has overcome many struggles in her young life. She loves swimming, music, playing dress up or having a picnic with all her stuffies. In her down time, you can find her reading a book or watching movies.

            The 3-Minute Dash program is donated by Toys”R”Us, Canada as part of their long-standing partnership with Starlight Canada and has been expanded to gift 10 Canadian families with shopping sprees in Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia, Edmonton, Alberta, Pembina, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past five years, dash recipients have been randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.

            “On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf. “Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope. We are beyond thrilled to have generous partners in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, who have helped us create initiatives like the 3-Minute Dash for our very deserving Starlight families.”

            Over the past 20 years, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have been and continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Presenting Sponsor of the Starlight Gala and donations to in and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $19 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause.

            “We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 10 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada. “At Toys”R”Us Canada, we believe that play is a right and we will champion the power of play for children across the country.  Play inspires endless possibilities of fun, imagination and wonder and for the families who take part in the shopping sprees, the Dashes offer their children much needed moments of playful escape on their journey.”

            This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including: 

            • 85 Hospital Grants - Monetary funding to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children.
            • 10,500 ER Admit Kits - A variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays.
            • 7,000 Baby & Toddler Fun Kits - Cuddly toys and games to distract very young children during unpleasant hospital stays.
            • Baby Resources for Hospitals Program – Supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centers along with special infant seats to cover 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.

             

            For more information, media accreditation to attend dashes, photos or interview requests, please contact:

            Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com, 647.638.1586

             

            About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

            Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

            Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

            Hashtag: #StarDash

            About Toys”R”Us, Canada:

            Since 1983, Toys “R” Us Canada has been Canada’s leading dedicated specialty retailer of toys and baby products.  Recognized as Canada’s trend authority in toys and baby products, the company brings national brands, exclusive products, innovative loyalty programs and unique partnerships to Canadians at its 82 stores across Canada and through its e-commerce sites Toysrus.ca and Babiesrus.ca.  Committed to giving back to our communities, we focus our charity efforts on supporting children and their families whether enhancing resources and services, helping development through play or offering distraction and encouragement to seriously ill children.   For store locations and convenient online shopping, visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

              Young Barrie Boy with Heart Defect to Receive Shopping Spree at Toys”R”Us, Canada Store this Summer

              BARRIE, ON (May 31, 2018)- On June 26, 2018, Toys”R”Us, Canada in partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada will provide five-year-old Tyson, who suffers from tetralogy of fallout (a type of heart defect) with a 3-Minute Dash shopping spree at a Barrie Toys”R”Us store (30 North Village Way, Barrie, ON L4N 6P3). Starting at 7:00 a.m., Tyson will have the chance to race through the store with his family and fill shopping carts with as many free toys as possible within a three-minute timeframe. The annual 3-Minute Dash program was designed to provide seriously ill children with much-needed positive memories away from the hospital.

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              More about Tyson

              Five-year-old Tyson suffers from tetralogy of fallout, which is a type of heart defect present at birth. The condition results in low oxygenation of blood and is usually treated with open heart sugery in the first year of life. After recently being adopted, Tyson’s family enrolled him in Starlight’s programs — programs that Tyson’s own father was enrolled in when he was a child. Described by his family as smiley and easy to please, Tyson is a big fan of Star Wars and is very much looking forward to his upcoming dash.

              The 3-Minute Dash program is donated by Toys”R”Us, Canada as part of their long-standing partnership with Starlight Canada and has been expanded to gift 10 Canadian families with shopping sprees in Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, Langley and Kamloops in British Columbia, Edmonton, Alberta, Pembina, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, Laval and Lasalle in Montreal and St. John’s, Newfoundland. For the past five years, dash recipients have been randomly selected as part of an internal Starlight Canada contest, in which families are asked to share the details of their child’s care journey and submit them to their local Starlight programs coordinator for entry.

              “On a day-to-day basis, we witness the bravery, strength and struggles that seriously ill children and their families face,” says Starlight executive director, Brian Bringolf. “Throughout the course of the calendar year, Starlight aims to provide distractive programming to make children smile and help families cope. We are beyond thrilled to have generous partners in Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, who have helped us create initiatives like the 3-Minute Dash for our very deserving Starlight families.”

              Over the past 20 years, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us Canada have been and continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Presenting Sponsor of the Starlight Gala and donations to in and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $19 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause.

              “We are proud to partner with Starlight and are delighted to bring 10 Starlight Dashes to communities across Canada this year,” says Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys”R”Us Canada. “At Toys”R”Us Canada, we believe that play is a right and we will champion the power of play for children across the country.  Play inspires endless possibilities of fun, imagination and wonder and for the families who take part in the shopping sprees, the Dashes offer their children much needed moments of playful escape on their journey.”

              This year, in addition to the 3-Minute Dash, Toys”R”Us has made a commitment to sponsor several Starlight Canada initiatives including: 

              • 85 Hospital Grants - Monetary funding to support distractive entertainment for hospitalized children.
              • 10,500 ER Admit Kits - A variety of care products for children and parents during unexpected hospital stays.
              • 7,000 Baby & Toddler Fun Kits - Cuddly toys and games to distract very young children during unpleasant hospital stays.
              • Baby Resources for Hospitals Program – Supplying easy to sanitize crib mobiles and activity centers along with special infant seats to cover 100 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) across Canada.

              For more information, media accreditation to attend dashes, photos or interview requests, please contact:

              Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com, 647.638.1586

               

              About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

              Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread millions of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

              Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

              Hashtag: #StarDash

              About Toys”R”Us, Canada:

              Since 1983, Toys “R” Us Canada has been Canada’s leading dedicated specialty retailer of toys and baby products.  Recognized as Canada’s trend authority in toys and baby products, the company brings national brands, exclusive products, innovative loyalty programs and unique partnerships to Canadians at its 82 stores across Canada and through its e-commerce sites Toysrus.ca and Babiesrus.ca.  Committed to giving back to our communities, we focus our charity efforts on supporting children and their families whether enhancing resources and services, helping development through play or offering distraction and encouragement to seriously ill children.   For store locations and convenient online shopping, visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

                34th Annual Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil To Return to Barbara Hall Park this June

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                Themed “Strengths in Communities”, recognizing HIV/AIDS activism, support and compassion within community groups, the annual commemorative event will take place on June 19, 2018 at 9 p.m.

                TORONTO, ON (May 16, 2018) – Just after dusk, on the evening of Tuesday, June 19, 2018, hundreds of LGBTTIQQ2S+ community members and allies will remember, honour and celebrate those who have passed from AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, or have given their lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS at the 34th annual Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil held in Barbara Hall Park (519 Church Street, Toronto) at 9:00 p.m.

                “Since its inception, the AIDS Candlelight Vigil has served as the annual community event for people living with HIV/AIDS, friends, family, allies and the broader communities to honor the lives lost to the disease, and to celebrate those who live with the virus,” says Karen Cohen, AIDS Vigil Committee of Toronto Co-Chair. “With this year’s theme of Strengths in Communities, we aim to celebrate the activism, support and compassion within communities affected by HIV/AIDS in Canada.”

                At the end of 2014, the estimated number of persons living with HIV in Canada was 75,500. It is estimated that 1 in every 5 Canadians infected with HIV has not been diagnosed (Public Health Canada, 2014). “The fight against HIV is not over, and we cannot be complacent when an average of 6.4 new HIV diagnoses are given daily.” (Canadian AIDS Society, 2016)

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                The evening will be hosted by Kay Roesslein and Haran Vijayanathan, and will include performances from LGBTQ2S+ chorus group Singing Out, cabaret trio Deaf That!, soprano Alexa Frankian and bass Wesley Hui. The event will close with a reading of the names of those who have passed from HIV/AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, followed by a candle lighting ceremony. The names read prior to the candle lighting ceremony will be engraved on the long-standing AIDS Memorial in the heart of Barbara Hall Park.

                “True community strengths are the bridges we build,” says vigil co-host Kay Roesslein. “It is important to build strength and respect our differences rather than assimilate and create negative feelings,” adds co-host Haran Vijayanathan.

                Event host Kay Roesslein has 26 years experience working with LOFT Community Services/McEwan Housing & Support Services: working with those who are HIV positive having mental health and substance use challenges, experience homelessness or complex care challenges, to provide stable housing and community outreach.  Co-host Haran Vijayanathan, Director at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention,  founded the first LGBTQ+ organization in York Region, called My House: Rainbow Resources of York Region in 2012.

                For media accreditation, photos or interview requests, please contact: 

                Cory Stewart | Embrace Disruption PR
                p: 647.638.1586 | e: cory@embracedisruption.com

                About The Toronto Candlelight AIDS Vigil: 

                The AIDS Candlelight Vigil is an open community event held annually at the AIDS Memorial to remember, honour and celebrate the people who have died of AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, or who have given their lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Every year, thousands of candles are lighted to honour and remember those who have died, and to encourage and support the tens of thousands of others who live with this disease every day.

                The Vigil embraces diversity, accepting and respecting people of all cultures, faiths, traditions and communities. The Vigil welcomes all people who have been infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and embraces anyone who has experienced a loss or losses due to HIV/AIDS.

                Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIDSVigilTor

                Twitter: https://twitter.com/AIDSVigilTor

                Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aidsvigilto/

                Hashtag: #AIDSVigil

                  Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada ‘Flies to the Moon’ at 23rd Annual Fundraising Gala

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                  Starlight plans intergalactic celebrity-filled evening, raising funds to brighten the lives of seriously ill children.

                  TORONTO, ON (March 21, 2018) - Prepare for takeoff! On April 21, 2018, Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada will blast into Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York ballroom (100 Front St. West) for their 23rd annual Gala, themed “Fly Me to the Moon”. Hosted by television personality Rick Campanelli and presented by Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® Canada, the Gala is one of Starlight’s largest fundraising initiatives, supporting their in-and-out-of-hospital programming for seriously ill children across the nation.

                  Beginning at 5:30 p.m., guests of the event will check in with a Starlight attendant before moonwalking into a magnetic evening of moving and memorable moments. The out-of-this-world décor will be complemented with themed activities including a flavoured oxygen bar, wine conveyer belt, outer space photo booth and silent auction. Once seated for dinner, attendees will be treated to an all-star lineup of entertainment including a live auction and special performances by Twisted Ankles Dance Crew and JUNO-award-winning musician Simone Denny.

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                  “Our annual gala is an opportunity for our guests to reflect and celebrate the strength and unbelievable resilience of the countless starlight families we help each year,” says Starlight executive director Brian Bringolf. “To meet these incredibly brave children and their family members in this intimate setting, and then hear the stories about how Starlight has impacted their lives, is a direct thank you to our attendees. It is rare one can see firsthand how a contribution is helping, but our gala shows our wonderful guests just how real and tangible their support is to these children and their families”

                  Celebrities scheduled to attend this year’s gala include: Love It or List It’s Hilary Farr, Real Housewives of Toronto’s Ann Caplan, JUNO award winning musician Simone Denny, Kim’s Convenience’s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Murdoch Mysteries’ Lachlan Murdoch, The Shape of Water’s Lauren Lee Smith among many others.

                  Starlight Canada is pleased to welcome an extensive group of sponsors including Presenting Sponsor Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada; Platinum Sponsor, Michaels; Gold Sponsors, Barrick Gold and Bloom Lanys Professional Corporation and Silver Sponsors, Hasbro and Mattel.

                  “At Toys“R”Us Canada, we are committed to continuously giving back to children and families within the communities we serve. Through our 20-year partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada we’ve witnessed first-hand the ‘power of play’ that brings joy to seriously ill children and their families through distractive entertainment,” said Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us, Canada. “We are thrilled to again sponsor this year’s Gala, and look forward to the many exciting initiatives we have planned with Starlight.”

                  Over the past 20 years, Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada continue to be one of Starlight’s most involved and valued partners. Through in-store and online campaigns, 3-Minute Dashes, Starlight Gala sponsorship and donations to in-hospital, neonatal care and out-of-hospital programs, they have donated an incredible $17 million to Starlight and are extraordinary advocates of Starlight’s cause in all the Canadian communities they serve.

                  Since its inception, the Starlight Gala has raised over $7.8 million, making it one of Starlight’s largest sources for fundraising. Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased online by visiting http://www.starlightcanadagala.com.

                  For more information, media accreditation, photos or interview requests, please contact: Cory Stewart, Embrace Disruption PR | cory@embracedisruption.com 647.638.1586

                   

                  About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:

                  Starlight Children’s Foundation® Canada brightens the lives of seriously ill Canadian children and their families by bringing them joy, laughter and relief. For close to 30 years, Starlight Canada has spread tens of thousands of smiles to sick kids through a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home. With your help, more kids and families will benefit from receiving a Starlight Comfort Kit in-hospital or relaxing at a Starlight Day Brightener out-of-hospital.

                  Support Starlight Canada’s work by visiting www.starlightcanada.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

                  About Toys“R”Us, Canada:

                  Toys“R”Us (Canada) Ltd. and Babies“R”Us (Canada) Ltd. are part of Toys“R”Us, Inc., the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Toys“R”Us, Canada operates over 80 stores across the country. For store locations and convenient online shopping visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.

                  Follow Toys“R”Us, Canada on Facebook (Facebook.com/ToysRUsCanada), Twitter (@ToysRUsCanada) and Instagram (@ToysRUsCanada)

                    5 Tips to Help You Destress During April’s National Stress Awareness Month

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                    TORONTO, ON (March 15, 2018) – Stress in today’s society is more common than ever before, with top causes stemming from job pressure, financials, health, relationships and poor nutrition. In Canada, over 1 in 4 workers report being highly stressed (StatCan, 2010) every day of their lives. Recent studies have shown that stress has a direct impact on mental and physical wellbeing, sometimes even encouraging poor lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, drug use or bad eating habits. Unsurprisingly, the problem of stress is now no longer just limited to the world of adults, with 49% of post secondary students reporting more than average stress levels in 2016.

                    The art of meditation is a practice thousands of years old with origins rooted in the spiritual traditions of ancient India. Though making its way to North American in the 1960’s, only in the last decade has it become a method of approach amongst mainstream society, helped along greatly by the practice of yoga and celebrity doctors such as Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Grail Springs Wellness Retreat owner and wellness guru Madeleine Marentette has dedicated her life to helping others in the art of meditation, assisting individuals on how to self-correct, gain clarity, and calm the nervous system: especially when feelings of frustration, panic and anxiety arise.
                    With April being National Stress Awareness Month, here are five beginner meditation exercises Marentette recommends you do at home to destress, calm your nerves and feel a little more joy in your life:

                    Immerse Yourself in a Relaxation Bath: Take a warm bath in Epsom salts, Dead Sea or Himalayan salt. Download some healing music such as the sounds of crystal bowls, specifically designed to calm the energetic system of the body. Light a few soy candles (no perfume), and drop some relaxation essential oils into the bath such as Lavender. Give yourself a 20-30 minute break and allow the warmth, the salts, the scents and sounds to envelop you in calm.

                    Stop and Smell the Roses: Visit your local flower shop on your way home from work and treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers. This sounds far too simple to have an effect, but who doesn’t like to receive flowers and feel the joy they bring to us. Place the flowers somewhere where you will see them often; on the kitchen counter, living room table or on your bed table.  Inviting the beauty of nature in to the home can have an immediate calming and joyful effect from both the visual beauty and the aromas.

                    Stay Clean and Organize:  It’s important that our home is treated like a sanctuary. After all it is where we spend most of our lives and it is the only environment we can truly control. It is interesting to note that our home, office and even the interior of our car is a reflection of how we might be thinking and feeling at a particular time in our life. Is your personal space organized, clean and inspiring, or is it in disarray, unclean and uninspiring? You may not recognize it, but your personal space may be adding to your stress. Take a day to address one space at time, which can be therapeutic in itself. Purge, donate, toss, clean, organize and smudge. Breathe new life in to the space, allow in some fresh air, and get things in order. This is highly beneficial to clearing a cluttered mind, enabling us to relax, be in the flow of creativity, and deal with issues more efficiently when they come up.

                    Words, Mantras and Prayer: Adopt a mantra. We know words can provide positive affirmations and act as reminders to take action. Choose a few words that resonate with you, how you wish to feel, a goal you want to work on and an outcome you want achieve. Words are powerful symbols of thoughts, so choose those that will help you to stay calm, peaceful, and committed to your own wellbeing.  Prayer or an invocation is also a powerful way to redirect misguided energy, turn pessimism in to optimism, enact forgiveness of self or others, change feelings of disempowered to empowerment. Write your words, mantra or prayer down and keep them with you, close to you, post them on your bathroom mirror or fridge. Affirm yourself every day until it becomes a way of life.

                    Noble Silence Practice: Once you have completed some of the simpler tips noted above, schedule a day when you are able to stay at home and really slow things down. Decide on a time between two and three hours where you will choose not to speak. Turn off the phone and shut down the computers. Go about your business doing chores, laundry or making a meal. Take this time to invoke silence, listen and just observe. Do not rush, but be gentle with your movements. Watch your incoming thoughts and allow them float away. Don’t give them any more thought. Take a deep breath and direct yourself back to silence. Keep a smile on your face. This practice can be profound and bring an individual endless realizations following. Make sure you have a journal handy so you can record them. Silence takes practice just like training a muscle. The benefits are tremendous to the mind, and will ultimately bring clarity and calm into our lives.

                    About Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing:

                    Located in the Mineral Capital of Canada, and the oldest exposed rock in the world, Grail Springs is close enough for an easy drive from Toronto International Airport, yet far enough to feel you have escaped to another world. With hundreds of acres of pristine forest, walking trails, crystal outcrop, abundant wildlife, meditation gardens and a curative spring-fed lake, individuals are inspired by the stunning natural beauty and are recharged by the potent healing environment that supports them.

                    Website: https://www.grailsprings.com/

                    Twitter: https://twitter.com/grailsprings

                    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrailSpringsWellnessRetreat

                    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MadeleineGrail

                    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grailspringswellnessretreat/

                     

                    For photos, interviews, media requests and additional information, please contact:

                    Cory Stewart, EDPR, email: cory@embracedisruption.com, phone: 647.638.1586

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