‘Share some love’: SickKids, Sinai Health appeal for help ahead of Valentine’s Day

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WATCH ABOVE: Sickkids foundation is launching a brand new campaign, in collaboration with Mount Sinai, to appeal to the generosity of Torontonians ahead of Valentine’s day. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the goal is to raise funds for both hospitals, but also to remind people to ‘share some love.’

SickKids Foundation is known for its heart-warming campaigns and videos, and just in time for Valentine’s Day it has released its latest project that is sure to tug on heartstrings everywhere.

It is a first of its kind collaboration with Mount Sinai Hospital, combining the stories of pediatric care and geriatric care and the idea of how children can help seniors feel better and vice versa.

“You have to have friends and family — very important,” said Mount Sinai gerontology patient Ana Clifford, who is featured in the video.

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Her counterpart, and feature patient, is 12-year-old Stephanie Jolink, who is in end-stage kidney failure at SickKids Hospital.

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“It’s when your kidney doesn’t work and your kidney is a big part of your body,” she explained.

“It’s an organ you need to have work because it gets rid of all the bad things in your body.”

The video was shot on-site at both hospitals over the course of several days in January, including in an underground tunnel on University Avenue that connects the hospitals.

It’s widely known to staff at the hospitals, but somewhat of a secret to the general public.

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The video tells the story of a young patient, played by Jolink, and an old patient, performed by Clifford, who connect through their windows, facing each other.

“It’s always hard to be in the hospital but it’s especially hard during holidays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day,” explained Lisa Charendoff, an associate director with the SickKids Foundation.

Viewers watch as the patients set a sort of informal daily appointment to meet at their respective hospital room windows and wave at one and other.

Then one day, the younger patient no longer sees the older one. So she comes up with a plan with the help of SickKids staff, and using the underground tunnel she finds her way to her new friend’s room at Mount Sinai and decorates it for Valentine’s Day to lift her spirits.

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“Our goal is to get people to share the love and share their pocketbook,” said Charendoff.

READ MORE: Toronto’s SickKids hospital launches ambitious fundraising campaign to build new hospital

Dr. Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai, is Clifford’s doctor.

“Holidays are always special times and we have to remember that sometimes they can be less special or more difficult for some people to endure,” he said.

“For some people, it can be a time where you may be missing loved ones especially if you’ve outlived other family members and friends.”

Sinha said he hopes people watch the video and take away the following message.

“Think about your older neighbours and older people in your lives and how the holidays could be affecting them,” he said.

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“It might just be about making extra space around the dinner table or maybe just sharing a small gift of appreciation.”

For Jolink, who spends several days a week in hospital, the video is personal.

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“Some people just need a nice friend especially if they’re in the hospital, if they’re not feeling well, they may need someone to make a friend with to make them feel better,” she said.

All donations at in February will be shared between SickKids and Sinai Health.