Anti-Stigma Campaign

A Powerful Anti-Stigma Campaign
Fuelled by Powerful Stories

Dear Everybody campaign

In 2018, we launched our second Dear Everybody campaign – a national movement to end stigma by using powerful imagery to change the way we think about disabilities. Dear Everybody earned 3.4 million media impressions, kick-started thousands of conversations about inclusion and disability stigma, used social media to give a voice to young people with disabilities where one hadn’t existed before, and gave Canadians practical tools to become champions for inclusion through the deareverybody.ca website.

Of the many families who shared their personal stories in a bid to change the conversation were Jen and Paul, whose son Dominic was only seven months old when he suffered a stroke in the middle of the night. Once doctors stabilized him, his infant brain and body had to literally start over again.

That process unfolded at home with strong family support and at Holland Bloorview with personalized care. While there are many challenges ahead, Dominic has nonetheless made remarkable strides.

“Right after the stroke, he couldn’t move, not even to lift his head,” Jen says. “Now he’s much more mobile, but not in the typical way you would see a one-year-old move around.”

Dominic’s stroke changed his life and his family’s life. Jen says that she and Paul became Dear Everybody spokespeople because they want their son to grow up with self-confidence despite any physical limitations he may have.

“I’m speaking out about the stigma people face if they look a little different, move differently or use different equipment,” she says. “I hope that Dear Everybody makes people a little bit more comfortable seeing people with disabilities around, because they’re here. Accept it and let’s embrace it.”

In a testament to the power of these incredibly personal stories, Dear Everybody won multiple awards – earning a Gold Quill award for excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators and an Advocacy Award from Empowered Kids Ontario.

Our message and vision of acceptance spreads far beyond the boundaries of the campaign. Through our own youth employment programs, we’re encouraging employers to hire people with disabilities and create programs that help youth with disabilities build job skills. We’re also working with advertisers to include disability in their broader campaigns.

And back at Holland Bloorview, we’ve hired an executive lead for equity, diversity and inclusion to help us push the envelope on creating a world where we all belong.

“Whatever Dominic’s final outcome is, he’ll be great,” Jen says. “If he doesn’t crawl or if he doesn’t use his left arm the same as other kids, he is no less.”

 

 

“I hope that Dear Everybody makes people a little bit more comfortable seeing people with disabilities around, because they’re here. Accept it and let’s embrace it.”

“I hope that Dear Everybody makes people a little bit more comfortable seeing people with disabilities around, because they’re here. Accept it and let’s embrace it.”

Accessibility