TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2018 – Nothing but net for kids across Canada as Sun Life Financial, the Toronto Raptors, and the NBA team up to expand the highly successful Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program to 20 Boys and Girls Clubs within the regions of Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Saskatoon, Halifax, and the Greater Toronto Area.
The six-week program, which initially launched last fall in select Boys and Girls Clubs in Toronto, was a resounding success with youth from across the city experiencing the positive effects of healthy eating and active living. Of the 400 participants from the fall launch, the Dunk for Diabetes program was able to achieve great milestones, such as 601 hours of reduced screen time, 4,454 fruits and vegetables consumed, and over 23,000 squats completed over the six-week period.
“I had so much fun in the Dunk for Diabetes program,” said Iyla N., age 10, Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough. “I learned what type 2 diabetes is and how to stop it by eating healthy foods like fruits, salads and smoothies and to play lots of sports.”
Leveraging partnerships with the Toronto Raptors and the NBA through their NBA Fit health and wellness platform, Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes aims to bring awareness to type 2 diabetes while teaching youth at Boys and Girls Clubs the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. The program has participants take part in weekly, basketball-themed fitness and nutrition challenges, with the chance to win prizes after each challenge is completed. The top 10 kids from each Club location will celebrate their achievements with NBA talent at the end of the program.
As part of the national expansion, over 600 kids from Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada are participating in this innovative six-week program and have committed to maintaining healthy lives on and off the court.
“It was so inspiring to see firsthand what the GTA youth learned in the program and we are thrilled to be able to expand Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes to more cities across Canada,” said Lisa Ritchie, Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Life Financial. “The key to start preventing type 2 diabetes is through awareness, education and living a healthy lifestyle and what better way to do this than by getting active on a basketball court. By continuing to partner with the Toronto Raptors, the NBA and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, we can work together to alter the course of this preventable disease.”
“At Boys and Girls Clubs, we know that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are critical to prevent type 2 diabetes and other health risks,” said Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “The Dunk for Diabetes pilot program has received rave reviews from our youth and staff, and thanks to Sun Life Financial, NBA Canada, and the Raptors, we are proud to enter the second phase of this national initiative and bring the program to 20 more locations in 2018.”
“We are encouraged to see the growing number of Canadian youth playing basketball and embracing healthy lifestyles through the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program,” said Dan MacKenzie, Vice-President and Managing Director, NBA Canada. “The national expansion through NBA Fit will not only impact participants, but will see diabetes awareness and education through sport benefit communities across the country.”
“On behalf of the Toronto Raptors, congratulations to all the participants of the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program,” said Dwane Casey, Head Coach, Toronto Raptors. “After six short weeks, hundreds of youth have accomplished so much towards living healthy, active lifestyles and the Toronto Raptors are proud to have been a part of their achievements. We look forward to continuing our work with Sun Life to expand the program across the country and positively impact the lives of more Canadian youth.”
The Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program is an extension of the ground-breaking partnership Sun Life formed with the Toronto Raptors and the NBA earlier this year when the company announced it was the Raptors’ first ever jersey sponsor, bringing together two prominent brands to team up in the fight against type 2 diabetes.
Sun Life Financial focuses on helping people achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives, taking a holistic approach to supporting the well-being of our Clients, Employees and communities with the end goal of helping to achieve physical, mental and financial resiliency both now and in the future. Sun Life has proudly committed more than $22 million in support of diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives since announcing support of the cause in 2012.
To learn more about Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes please visit sunlifedunkfordiabetes.ca.
We love this video from the recent Dunk for Diabetes draft party at the East Scarborough Club!