Kids and youth with disabilities tell Canadians who they are through powerful imagery in anti-stigma campaign

Powerful images highlight ‘Dear Everybody,’ a national movement against disability stigma launched by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

TORONTO, ON (August 27, 2018) – Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) has launched year two of Dear Everybody, a national movement to end stigma and eliminate bias towards disability. The campaign returns with powerful imagery that challenges Canadians to rethink their perceptions of disability.

“Last year, we set out to uncover unconscious bias and stigma towards disability through the words of kids and youth,” says Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO of Holland Bloorview. “This year, kids and youth take on the role of art directors and tell us who they are through images – from storytellers to historians, to a star in the making.”

In Canada, there are more than 400,000 children and youth (up to and including the age of 24) living with a disability, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission notes disability is the most cited (59 per cent) reason for discrimination by people in Canada.

"Our son's bravery and strength is visible in everything he does, even if he does things in a different way or meets milestones later than his same-aged peers,” says Jennifer, mom to Dominic, a Holland Bloorview client, who are both featured in the campaign. “He is enough, however he is. As parents, we would like our family to be seen for who we are: A loving family with its own unique journey, just like everyone else. We hope that by getting involved in this important campaign, we can empower and encourage others to alter their perceptions about disability.”

A few of the kids and youth featured in the campaign this year:

  • Jadine is articulate, thoughtful, critical, and imaginative. She is a reader, writer, and a storyteller. Her dream is to become an author and motivational speaker. She lives with cerebral palsy.
  • Liam loves history and is passionate about learning. What does he want to be when he grows up? A history teacher, of course. Liam lives with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Nine-year-old Zach is outspoken, creative, and fearless. He’ll tell you with great confidence that he has several inventions already in the works. He lives with cerebral palsy.

Find out what a world without stigma looks like for kids with disabilities at where visitors can find the full image gallery and learn how they can support Dear Everybody. The website provides educational tools and resources for the public, encouraging Canadians to unite and challenge disability stigma in areas including employment, bullying, friendship, education, and health. The goal is to create an inclusive and equitable society that includes kids and youth of all abilities.

The advertising component of the campaign, created in partnership with KBS Canada, includes TV, radio, print, digital, and out-of-home advertising across Canada. Holland Bloorview is proud and grateful to recognize M&H, Rodeo Production, Vapor RMW, The Vanity, DIVISN Post Production, Wingman VFX, and Keystone Studios for their pro-bono support of Dear Everybody.

The public can see the images and engage with Dear Everybody at an art installation displayed at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre from August 27 to September 2.

For more information about the campaign, visit and follow the #DearEverybody conversation on social media.


About Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. Holland Bloorview is a top 40 Canadian research hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves 7,500 families annually. Providing both inpatient and outpatient services, Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care. Holland Bloorview is the only organization to ever achieve 100 per cent in two successive quality surveys by Accreditation Canada.

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