Elena and Vanessa

Although Vanessa and Elena are focused on completing their PhDs in rehabilitation, they’re adding a bit of fun to their day—and it’s all thanks to a cape.

The two University of Toronto students are this year’s co-captains for the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) students’ Capes for Kids team. 

While Vanessa has campaigned individually before, this is her first year with a team—and something she’s looking forward to. 

“It makes a huge difference to have different minds come together to fundraise,” she says. “It’s nice to have that community come together for a great cause.”

Plans for this year’s Capes for Kids campaign involve recruiting BRI students, hosting a DIY capes day, promoting their donation pages all across social media, raising awareness on campus by inviting other U of T departments to join in, and, of course, wearing their capes everywhere they go especially during class and on transit. For Vanessa, that also means putting her dog in one.

“I think a lot of people outside of this field of research don’t really know what [Holland Bloorview] is,” says Vanessa. “And the cape brings attention and gets people looking and asking, ‘Why are you wearing that?’”

And while Vanessa has been a volunteer at Holland Bloorview for the more than two years, this year is Elena’s first time getting familiar with the hospital—but both agree just how important campaigns like this are, for clients and families.  

“Holland Bloorview provides as much support possible for kids with disabilities,” adds Elena. “And it’s important for people within the hospital to come together to support, but to also raise awareness for people outside the hospital of the great initiatives that happen here.”