Holland Bloorview receives the gift of brotherly love

 Every family has its traditions – some incite laughter, others are more serious, offering meaningful life lessons.

Three brothers, Aidan, Spencer, and Eli, have continued their family tradition of giving back – proof of which can be found in their decision to support Holland Bloorview.

Last year, Aidan, now 14, made a gift to Holland Bloorview in recognition of his becoming a Bar Mitzvah, just as his two older brothers chose to do before him.

In the eyes of their parents, Judy and Philip, this has unified their sons with a common goal in their introduction to adulthood.

“In the spirit of helping others, I want to help kids participate fully in life,” said Aidan at his Bar Mitzvah. “Like my brothers, I’ve made a commitment to Holland Bloorview, an incredible hospital that’s focused on improving the quality of life for kids with disabilities.”

In 2013, Spencer (now 18), made a similar gift when he became a Bar Mitzvah. Eli (now 22) initiated this act of tzedakah (a Hebrew word meaning charity) by giving a gift to the hospital when he became a Bar Mitzvah in 2009.

“When I first walked in to Bloorview, I felt that it was a little bit of a sad place due to the challenges that the children there are faced with every day,” said Eli during his speech. “I was unbelievably wrong. Holland Bloorview is a place where miracles happen, where children learn to live life like every other kid.”

What was the motivation behind this family-wide support? Spencer was a former client, and he and his brothers have never forgotten the exceptional care and support he received.

Experiencing developmental delays, Spencer has benefitted from Holland Bloorview’s physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy programs.  

“Bloorview is filled with incredible people, who all share the goal of working together to help kids be the best they can,” said Spencer. “I’m so thankful for the support I received.”  

Spencer also penned a letter to Holland Bloorview that accompanied his Bar Mitzvah gift, stating, “This will allow me to give back to a caring community that helped me with my confidence. You truly do create a world of possibilities for kids with disabilities.” 

“We have such an affinity, an appreciation and respect for what Holland Bloorview does for children,” said Judy. “We really wanted our children to be involved in something where the focus was kids.”

But Judy and Philip wanted all of their sons to see first-hand Holland Bloorview’s work and impact. So they planned for tours of the hospital. “We wanted them to understand the importance of what they were doing and why it was meaningful,” she said.

The brothers toured different therapy areas and the prosthetics lab, as well as the music therapy area, which was of particular interest as all three boys love music.

“My brothers and I have seen how the music therapy program helps children express themselves and is an important form of healing,” said Aidan.

The tours clearly made an impression.

Long before Aidan gave his Bar Mitzvah gift, he was requesting donations to Holland Bloorview in lieu of gifts at his birthday parties. He also shared a detailed presentation about Holland Bloorview to his Grade 4 classmates through Project Give Back, a passion-based program directed to elementary school students.

Understandably, Judy and Philip couldn’t be prouder.   

“It was meaningful that they did the same gift together,” said Judy. “It was an experience that has united them as brothers with a common desire to help children in need.”

Learn more about how you can celebrate a special occasion with Holland Bloorview!