Sick Kids VS. Campaign

I was watching TV and saw the new Sick Kids advertising campaign a few weeks ago on. The ad left me speechless and I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. Now you might think that it was because the ad upset me, but nothing could be further from the truth. I was proud of the strong powerful images of children and youth wearing war paint fighting back against serious illnesses and diseases.


Photo by Nicki Ormerod Westside Studio

This ad is so different than anything that I have ever seen before, but true in spirit to the words that I often whispered to my daughter during her early days of treatment for leukemia: You my dear are a brave warrior, representing the Roberts Clan and you will defeat your sick blood and banish it from your body. You my dear are a superhero.

Unfortunately, this brave ad isn’t loved by everyone and some individual have complained about the violent images and military metaphors.

Professor Michael Orsini from the University of Ottawa was one of the first critics that spoke out against the campaign, saying that “I think (the campaign) leaves out the folks who are so-called ‘brave soldiers’ who cannot win the war, win the fight. And that is really kind of unfortunate,” Orsini told the CBC last month.

I’m personally glad that the hospital decided to push the limit of their campaign and I definitely think that they achieved their objective — jolt viewers out of their complacency, get involved and support Sick Kids hospital.

According to a statement release by Sick Kids “The new SickKids VS ad campaign has garnered a lot of attention since launching a week ago. We are delighted at the significant positive feedback from families and children who say they experience the ad campaign as empowering, and as breaking through stereotypes.”


Check out Sick Kids new campaign and let me know your thoughts and what you think about it.





First blog post


Four years ago my family returned to Canada after a two year international work assignment in the Caribbean. My wife and I worked at two of the country’s largest financial institutions, we had a nice home in the suburbs near the lake and our twin daughters were healthy, happy and enjoying the early days of kindergarten. In simple terms: we lived an almost perfect life.


Three weeks after my twin daughters fifth birthday, one of my daughters had a persistent sore throat. We originally thought that it was just a bad cold, but after a few trip to the hospital we went to see our pediatrician for a checkup.

Since our daughter had been home sick for a few day, I decided to pick up a small teddy bear on my way home from work to put a smile on her face.


When I presented the bear to my daughter, she grinned from ear to ear, however, before we even had a chance to name him my daughter and I were on our way to Sick Kids after receiving an urgent call from our pediatrician.

As doctors and nurses came in and out of the emergency room at Sick Kids, a nurse stopped to ask Taylor about her bear’s name. Taylor paused, looked at the bear and declared that his name was “Mr. Snuggles”.

Later on that night, doctors started to ask me if we had a history of cancer or blood disorders in our family. Eventually, it took more than three months for Taylor to be formally diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It’s an acute form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by the overproduction white blood cells.

No matter how much you prepare yourself to hear those words, the diagnosis of cancer in a child or teenager is a devastating blow to parents, grandparents and other family members who love the child. It creates an instant crisis … and exclusive membership to a secret club. No matter what you do or where you go, you become a member for life of parents of children diagnosed with cancer. It’s a secretive club that no one wants to join, but thankfully the one positive thing about being in the club is that it’s filled with amazing people who support each other.

Three years after my daughter’s diagnosis, I’m happy to report that she completed her treatment and Mr. Snuggles has never left her side. He spent every night with her, attended every hospital appointment,  carefully watched nurses administer every dose of chemotherapy treatment and scrubbed in for dozens of medical procedures. Mr. Snuggles has attended all our vacations, sleep overs and camp outs in the backyard.

Mr. Snuggles you are an unsung hero and I hope that other children around the world have a someone like you to bring them comfort during tough times.

As we all prepare for the holidays with friends and family, think about the power of giving to help those that are less fortunate. A small gift can make a huge difference in the life of a child.