Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital introduces "Upopolis,"
Canada's first secure online community to keep kids in hospitals
TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation
Hospital in partnership with TELUS, Kids' Health Links Foundation
(KHLF) and Sheridan Nurseries today announced the launch of Upopolis,
an innovative social networking tool that helps hospital inpatients
stay connected to their families, friends and school.
Created by KHLF and powered by TELUS, Upopolis.com is the only private,
secure and trusted online social network designed just for kids in
hospital. Upopolis provides the best features of social networking,
such as personal profiles, personal blogs, instant chat and
child-friendly games. The site also provides unique features to kids in
hospital, such as a homework site to stay up-to-date with their
schoolwork, links to kid-friendly health and wellness information, and
connections to other children with the same condition.
At Holland Bloorview, Upopolis will be championed by Child Life
Specialists, who work with clients, their family and other caregivers
to help manage stress, pain and anxiety associated with
Holland Bloorview is the only children's rehabilitation hospital in
Canada to offer this innovative site to their patients. This program
comes just in time for Thanksgiving, a vital time for kids in care to
connect with their loved ones.
"The average hospital stay at Holland Bloorview is 61 days. For a young
person, a stay that long can feel like a lifetime and can lead to
feelings of isolation," says Sheila Jarvis, president and CEO Holland
Bloorview. "Upopolis allows kids to stay connected to their friends and
families which is extremely important for their healing."
Through a unique partnership with KHLF, TELUS provides the technology to
develop and build Upopolis. TELUS continues to provide site expansion,
ongoing access to Upopolis, managed web hosting, application support
and maintenance services.
"At TELUS we take pride in finding new and innovative health care
solutions for Canadians through the use of technology," said Paul
Lepage, senior vice-president, TELUS Health Solutions. "Upopolis is a
terrific example of technology that empowers children in care. It is
often difficult for patients to travel outside hospital walls, but with
this unique program patients can connect with their friends and
families at anytime. We are proud to partner with Holland Bloorview,
which will provide growth and expansion within this network to more
The generous donation KHLF received from Sheridan Nurseries has allowed
them to bring Upopolis to Holland Bloorview. In turn, this donation
will help with its initial implementation, oversight and also continue
the program development for all connected hospitals across Canada.
"Working with Upopolis has given us the opportunity to keep children
connected to their family and friends, during a time they often feel
isolated and needing extra support," said Karl Stensson, president of
Sheridan Nurseries. "We are proud to be involved with this innovative
concept in children's health care."
The online support network was inspired by the hospital experiences of
two teenaged friends, Christina Papaevangelou and Katy McDonald. In
February 2002, Christina was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at
McMaster Children's Hospital with a life-threatening illness. Shortly
after, Katy was diagnosed with cancer and had to be hospitalized for a
long period of time at SickKids. Sadly, Katy lost her battle with
cancer. However, their friendship and common experiences inspired
Christina to explore ways to help kids in care stay connected.
"Ten years ago Upopolis was only a dream, today it has connected many
children in care across Canada, with each other and with their friends
and loved ones," said Basile Papaevangelou, chairman and founder of
Kids Health Links Foundation. "On behalf of Kids' Health Links and our
partners, we are thrilled to launch Upopolis at yet another hospital in
Canada and for the first time at a children's rehabilitation facility.
Today's launch at Holland Bloorview means we are one step closer to
bringing this program to every Canadian children's hospital."
KHLF and TELUS launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster
Children's Hospital in Hamilton and since then it has expanded to other
hospitals and health organizations across Canada, including B.C.
Children's Hospital in Vancouver; IWK Health Centre in Halifax; CHEO in
Ottawa; SickKids in Toronto, Ste. Justine in Montreal and Lutherwood in
Waterloo. By adapting the TELUS technology, the Upopolis team has been
able to meet the specific needs of each hospital, whether adding French
language capabilities or information specific to mental health.
About Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada's largest
children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the
University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies
and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools
to participate fully in life. Every year, we see about 7,000 children
with about 600 inpatient admissions and 58,000 outpatient visits.
About Kids' Health Links Foundation
Kids' Health Links was founded by Basile Papaevangelou and his daughter
Christina to connect, through technology, children in health care
facilities across Canada with friends and family, their teachers and
schoolwork. Kids' Health Links Foundation created Upopolis - an
innovative, private online community for children in care. The Kids'
Health Links technology solutions help to alleviate stress, isolation
and loneliness for children in medical care in order to help children
heal faster and better to overcome traumatic medical experiences.
About Sheridan Nurseries
Sheridan Nurseries is the largest combined nursery and retail chain of
garden centres in Canada, with eight retail locations in the GTA and
one in Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as five Professional Supply
Centres. The third-generation Stensson business includes more than 900
acres of farm property growing over one million plants for sale
annually, in varying container sizes. For more information, visit www.sheridannurseries.com or contact the Marketing department at 416-798-7970.
TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications
company in Canada, with $10.1 billion of annual revenue and 12.4
million customer connections including 7.1 million wireless
subscribers, 3.7 million wireline network access lines and 1.2 million
Internet subscribers and more than 400,000 TELUS TV customers. Led
since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a
wide range of communications products and services including data,
Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video.
In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team
members and retirees will, by year-end 2011, have contributed $245
million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered
4.1 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Eleven
TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead TELUS' local philanthropic
initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding
philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of
Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to
receive this prestigious international recognition.
For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.
SOURCE TELUS Corporation
For further information:
For media inquiries, please contact:
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
(416) 425 - 6220 ext. 6409
TELUS Health Solutions
Kids' Health Links Foundation