It was a record-breaking night in Mississauga on Monday, as 2,854 enthusiastic Raptors 905 fans donned red capes in support for a good cause.
The NBA G league affiliate of the Toronto Raptors hosted its Cape for Kids Night with the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Raptors forward Pascal Siakam’s PS43 Foundation Canada at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.
Siakam, who instructed fans to don the capes between the first and second quarters for the record attempt, says it was worth lending his name to the cause.
“They go through a lot and if we can do anything we can to help them — and sometimes a little bit is a lot and we don’t even realize it, so everything that we can just to help is very important to those kids,” says Siakam.
“When the opportunity came to work with Pascal and to take this chance of breaking the Guinness book of records for most capes worn at an event, it was a no brainer,” says Raptors 905 vice-president of Basketball and Franchise Operations, Courtney Charles.
An adjudicator from Guinness World Records was on hand to confirm the final number.
The previous record of 2,266 was set back in September 2019 by a group of fans wearing Batman capes at Warner Brothers World in Abu Dhabi.
A portion of the ticket proceeds from Monday’s game went to the hospital’s Capes for Kids annual fundraising campaign which aims to raise $1 million to help children and youth with disabilities.
“When they’re at Holland Bloorview it really is utopia. It’s the one place where kids are seen, where their differences are celebrated, they’re not bullied. Kids with disabilities have the highest rate of bullying and mental health issues,” says Sandra Hawken, president and CEO of Holland Bloorview Foundation.
Hawken says reducing the stigma surrounding disability is key and Holland Bloorview helps children to live a meaningful life.
Capes for Kids, which is currently in its seventh year, has raised over $4.3 million to date with the money going to research, education and care at Holland Bloorview.
The red capes worn during the campaign, which runs until March, are meant to spark conversations about childhood disability and inclusion.