RBC Run for the Kids goes further for youth mental health

Over 7,000 runners and some of Canada's top athletes rally in support of youth with mental illness

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, RBC and Sunnybrook are pleased to announce that the second annual RBC Run for the Kids raised more than $ 1.7 million in support of youth mental health.

More than 7,000 participants were cheered on by some of Canada's top athletes and RBC Olympians: Jennifer Botterill, Jason Burnett, Patrick Chan, Kendra Fisher, Heather Hamilton, Jayne Hefford and Kevin Rempel.

Funds raised at the RBC Run for the Kids go directly towards the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook, which connects young people affected by mental illness and addictions – and their families – to the help they so urgently need. The Family Navigation Project launched last year, thanks to funding from the inaugural RBC Run for the Kids, held in September 2013. The project has since navigated more than 300 families.

"As many as two million Canadian youth struggle with a mental health or addiction problems, and most of them have trouble finding specialized services," said Dr. Anthony Levitt, medical director of the Family Navigation Project and chief of Brain Sciences at Sunnybrook. "We're here to help connect families to the services they need so urgently. With the proceeds from this year's run, we'll be able to navigate even larger numbers of families."  

The run started and finished at Mel Lastman Square in North York, and there were three different distances – a 5K run/walk, a 15K run and a 25K run – to suit all ages and fitness levels.

Only in its second year in the Toronto area, the run sold out four weeks in advance of Saturday's event. The RBC Run for the Kids was launched in New York six years ago and has spread to seven locations around the world. Increasing in popularity every year, the races have attracted more than 45,500 participants to date, and raised over $11 million for children's charities around the world.

RBC is deeply committed to the goal of improving children's access to essential mental health services. "Thousands of children living in our communities are affected by mental health issues, and we understand the toll this can have on them and their families," said Jamie Anderson, deputy chair, RBC Capital Markets and executive champion of the RBC Children's Mental Health Project. "We are proud to support the Family Navigation Project through the second annual RBC Run for the Kids and are inspired by the deep commitment shown today from the community and more than 4,700 RBC employees, friends and family."

Since 2008, the RBC Children's Mental Health Project has provided more than $25 million to support 287 organizations dedicated to providing early intervention, increasing public awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness. The Project is part of RBC's Believe in Kids Pledge — a five-year, $100-million commitment to improving the well-being of kids and youth in Canada.

Click here to learn more about the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook.

About Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care for the 1.2 million patients the hospital cares for each year through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada's premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for high-risk pregnancies, critically-ill newborns and adults, offering specialized rehabilitation and treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and psychiatric disorders, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries. The Hospital also has a unique and national leading program for the care of Canada's war veterans. For more information about how Sunnybrook is inventing the future of health care please visit us online at www.sunnybrook.ca.

About RBC

About RBC's Commitment to Community and Sustainability

Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) is Canada's largest bank and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 42 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com. RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada's Greenest Employers, and one of Canada's 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships, community investments and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at rbc.com/community-sustainability.

Image with caption: "Over 7,000 supporters race, walk and stroll to raise funds for youth mental health in the RBC Run for the Kids at Mel Lastman Square, Toronto. (CNW Group/Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140920_C2707_PHOTO_EN_5813.jpg

SOURCE: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

For further information: please contact: Nadia Radovini, Communications Advisor, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Office (416) 480-4040 or mobile (416) 671-9147 on event day; André C. Roberts, RBC Brand and Corporate Citizenship Communications, RBC, (416) 313-7436


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