Blue Jays Spread Joy and Happiness at Holland Bloorview

On July 24, 2018, five Toronto Blue Jays players visited Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to spend some time with kids with disabilities and their families. 

Kevin Pillar, Joe Biagini, Jake Petricka, Tyler Clippard and former Blue Jay J.A. Happ, met with over forty kids and their families in the hospital’s Kinder Foundation Gym.

The gym was filled with kid-friendly activities like Connect4, a giant Jenga game, a beanbag toss and a tent where kids could try throwing a fastball. Some kids preferred Blue Jays colouring books while getting to meet and interact with the players. 

Many kids took selfies with the players, but some wanted to get their families involved and used a special Blue Jays backdrop set up in the corner of the gym for photos.

Tricia, mother of three-year-old Cameron, couldn’t stop smiling as she watched her son get his photo taken with Pillar. “It’s something different other than therapy,” she explained when asked why events like this are important. “It’s something to look forward to and be excited about.”

“We are so thankful for this visit from the Blue Jays,” said Rebecca, mother of 14-year-old Owen. “Events like this help raise awareness of the great work being done at Holland Bloorview. We are grateful for this facility and all the special people who truly make a difference in these kids’ lives.”

Shari, mother of eight-year-old Karisse, was helping her daughter fill in a Blue Jays colouring book. “Karisse gets to meet people she never would’ve met because of events like this,” she said. “It gives us things to do when staying at the hospital.”

There was also a large external media presence at Holland Bloorview. Some kids were featured in a video that appeared on the official MLB website and a few kids found themselves in the Toronto Blue Jays’ Instagram stories. 

An array of Blue Jays memorabilia such as jerseys, hats and t-shirts were being signed. Toronto Blue Jays mascot, Ace, also made an appearance, adding to the fun and excitement.  

Events like this have a lasting impact not only on the kids, but also on the players. It was an afternoon of laughter, friendship and happiness at Holland Bloorview.   

Beau Wright is a participant in Holland Bloorview’s Ready to Work program, working as part of the Communications and Public Engagement team.