UNICEF Canada, along with Canada Soccer, calls on Montreal fans to #HighFiveIt at Tuesday's FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ matches

     #HighFiveIt celebrates women's soccer & saves children's lives—first $1 million in Canadian donations to be matched by the Government of Canada

MONTREAL, June 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Tomorrow, Montreal hosts its first two games of the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ and, to kick off the largest single women's sporting event in history, UNICEF Canada and Canada Soccer are engaging Montreal fans to be part of the #HighFiveIt campaign—starting with the universal sporting gesture of a high-five.

Karina LeBlanc, Canadian Women's National Team goalkeeper and UNICEF Ambassador, helped kick off the campaign with a high-five seen here. Since then, many other celebrities have supported the #HighFiveIt movement such as host Mitsou Gélinas with Danièle Henkel, film director Rafaël Ouellet as well as DJ Abeille Gélinas. From the sports scene, Montreal Impact Captain Patrice Bernier as well as Canadian Women's National Soccer Team player Rhian Wilkinson, Canadian Olympian and Judo athlete Sergio Pessoa and Minister of Sport Bal Gosal and Member of Parliament Mike Wallace also participated in this campaign. A special mention goes out to RDS team members Maxime Morin and Jean-Christophe Bertrand, Patrick Leduc, François-Étienne Corbin and Radio-Canada sports journalist Antoine Deshaies, that all took up the challenge with great enthusiasm. Some Hollywood stars such as Austin & Ally co-stars Calum Worthy and Raini Rodriguez; Modern Family co-star Rico Rodriguez.also took part in this challenge

Fans can take three simple actions to be part of #HighFiveIt: post a #HighFiveIt photo/video giving a high-five, tag five friends and donate $5 to provide life-saving vaccines, clean water or nutrition to children at highfiveit.org.

"I've seen the impact of UNICEF's work with children in Honduras and Dominica and am excited to have two of my passions—soccer and reaching children through UNICEF—come together with #HighFiveIt," said Karina LeBlanc, goalkeeper for the Canadian Women's National Team and UNICEF Canada Ambassador. "Competing in the World Cup on home soil makes me unbelievably proud to be a Canadian. We are a compassionate and generous country. I encourage Canadians to high-five every time their favourite team scores or a goalkeeper makes a great save and donate $5 so UNICEF can reach the world's most vulnerable children to help them survive and thrive."

"The largest women's sporting event in history is kicking off its Montreal games tomorrow—our national pride will be palpable at Olympic Stadium. Canadians are known for our generosity and compassion—with #HighFiveIt these games can leave a legacy of lives saved," said Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada's Chief Development Officer.

"Every day, 17,000 children under-five die of mostly preventable causes. Imagine a stadium full of kids, every day. We can stop this. By taking part in #HighFiveIt, Canadians are helping UNICEF save lives with essentials like clean water, nutrition and vaccines—and the government will match the first million dollars donated by Canadians, doubling their life-saving impact," said Avery.

How to participate in #HighFiveIt
UNICEF is encouraging people around the world to join the #HighFiveIt movement to help save kids' lives by
posting a fun #HighFiveIt photo/video giving a high-five, tagging five friends and donating $5 to save kids' lives at highfiveit.org.

#HighFiveIt will run throughout June as the Canadian Women's National Team competes in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™. The Government of Canada will match all Canadian contributions to #HighFiveIt up to $1 million—reaffirming Canada's long-standing partnership to save children's lives.  

A legacy of lives saved 

Maternal, newborn and child health statistics:

  • A $5 donation can provide clean drinking water to five children for one year.
  • A $5 donation can immunize 14 children against measles.
  • A $5 donation can give essential nutrients to three children for one day.
  • Every year one million children take their first and last breath on the day they are born.
  • 50 per cent of childhood deaths under age five are caused by malnutrition.
  • More than 1,000 children die every day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation.
  • 330 children die from measles every day, despite the availability of a safe, effective and affordable vaccine.

Guinness World Record kicks off #HighFiveIt
On May 29, 2015 at the pre-tournament friendly match between the Canadian Women's National Soccer Team and their English rivals, UNICEF Canada, with support from members of the Canadian women's team, lead 7,238 fans at Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field in breaking the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people simultaneously giving a high-five. The previous record of 4,696 people was held by The Kroger Co. in the US, set on April 16, 2013.

The #HighFiveIt Campaign was designed pro bono by MarketELLE. Production company Alterna Films and award-winning filmmaker Richie Mehta both donated their expertise and hundreds of hours of time to shooting, editing and producing a stunning 45-second PSA that will air throughout the games.

Follow and share UNICEF Canada's posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Photo and video resources available here.

About Canada Soccer
Canada Soccer, through its partnership with UNICEF Canada, supports development initiatives that save the lives of children and mothers around the world. The grassroots engagement bridges Canadian soccer pitches in towns from coast to coast with global efforts to save the lives of the 17,000 children who die every day from preventable causes. A natural extension to the work done by goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc (UNICEF Canada Ambassador, Olympic Bronze Medalist and the longest-serving player on Canada Women's National Team), UNICEF Canada and Canada Soccer are looking to build off of the momentum of the Women's National Team's success as ambassadors and female leaders on and off the field.

About Marketel
The #HighFiveIt campaign, including all of the digital and social media strategy as well as the TV, print and digital creative, was the brainchild of Montreal-based Marketel, one of Canada's leading agencies, who developed and produced the work pro-bono on behalf of UNICEF Canada. For the #HighFiveIt campaign, Marketel leveraged an all-female team from its new marketing-to-women division, MarketELLE, which is fast becoming the Canadian leader in the world of marketing-to-women. Learn more at marketel.com and marketelle.com

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

Image with caption: "UNICEF Canada Ambassador and Canadian Women?'s National Team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and Canada?'s team captain Christine Sinclair high-five at the friendly game between Canada and England at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on May 29. (C) CanadaSoccer (Photo Credit Paul Giamou) (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150608_C5255_PHOTO_EN_17668.jpg

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.unicef.ca

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