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Uber picks up Holland Bloorview as new partner

Uber Canada is driven to help kids with disabilities.

Uber, the fast-growing smartphone app company, with just over 15,000 drivers and 500,000 riders in the GTA, launched a partnership with Holland Bloorview this spring.

Uber announced a $10,000 donation to the hospital as well as donating $1 from every uberWAV and uberASSIST ride for the month of May – services designed to help riders with accessibility needs get where they need to go.

Uber takes a lap around the hospital 

The uberWAV service is available for riders who need a wheelchair­accessible vehicle. The uberASSIST option is best suited for riders who have other accessibility needs and require assistance getting from door-­to-­door, rather than just curb-­to-­curb.

“We had heard from riders and drivers with accessibility needs who face a variety of barriers to accessing transportation in Toronto,” explained Susie Heath, a Senior Communications Associate for Uber Canada. “We wanted to help increase the mobility and freedom of all riders and drivers with accessibility needs.”

Wanting to learn more about how Holland Bloorview is helping kids with disabilities, Heath and her colleagues took a spin around the hospital in April. They toured the hospital grounds and met with several researchers, staff and client families.

Though familiar with Holland Bloorview before joining Uber, Heath was surprised at what she saw. “The magnitude and breadth of work that goes on at Holland Bloorview was fascinating,” she said.

She found meeting the researchers especially inspiring.

“I was thrilled to meet them,” said Heath. “Hearing about the research, particularly the collaborative work that is being done with other researchers around the world was so interesting.

“Additionally, each person we had the opportunity to interact with was so passionate about what they do. They really spoke about their work with a sparkle in their eyes.”

Taken aback by technology and therapy 

Heath was equally impressed with the ongoing development of innovative technologies that gives kids with disabilities the chance to communicate. Learning about the assistive devices that could be operated by a child humming, snapping their fingers or blinking, she was fascinated.

Moving outdoors, Heath was also surprised to learn of the many different companies involved in the operation of the spiral garden and its art and music therapy programs.

Seeing that there are so many ways to get involved, Heath hinted that Uber’s partnership with Holland Bloorview is just in first gear.

“We're really excited to see this partnership evolve,” said Heath. “We’re looking for different ways to support the hospital, so the conversations are definitely ongoing.”