October 17, 2017

Taking the fight against diabetes to the basketball court

Sun Life Financial and Toronto Raptors team up to launch Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes, a national program that encourages healthy living to prevent type 2 diabetes

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) and the Toronto Raptors today announce the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program, a national initiative, in support of diabetes awareness and prevention, to teach Canadian youth the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada youth in action at the launch of the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program. (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Inc.)

Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President; Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors Head Coach; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors player; and Jerry Stackhouse, Raptors 905 Head Coach, helped kick off the program today at Air Canada Centre with over 50 kids from Toronto-area Boys and Girls Clubs as they pledged their commitment to healthy and active living.

In conjunction with NBA Canada and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, this six-week program will have participants take part in weekly, basketball-based fitness and nutrition challenges, with the chance to win prizes after each challenge is completed. The top 10 kids from each Club will celebrate their achievements with the Toronto Raptors and NBA Legends at the end of the program. Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes starts in five Toronto-area Clubs this fall expanding nationally to 20 locations across Canada by early 2018.

"One of the best ways to encourage youth to get active and eat well is through sport," said Lisa Ritchie, Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Life Financial. "We know that education and awareness are key to preventing type 2 diabetes. By teaming up with the Raptors, NBA Canada and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to introduce the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes initiatives and further expand the Sun Life Team up Against Diabetes program, we can tackle this disease on and off the court."

"We are thrilled to partner with Sun Life Financial, NBA Canada, and the Raptors to launch Dunk for Diabetes," said Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. "At Boys and Girls Clubs, we know that sports and physical activity are critical in promoting healthy habits that will benefit young people for life. We look forward to rolling out the program at Club locations across Canada."

"Commitment to living a healthy lifestyle is tantamount to the positive values and ideals we embrace on the court. Through basketball, we encourage Canadians of all ages to have fun and stay active, and we're proud to support Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes' groundbreaking and innovative approach in the fight against this disease," said Dan MacKenzie, Vice President and Managing Director, NBA Canada.

Also under the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes umbrella is the Healthy Me, Healthy Community diabetes prevention program, supported by Sun Life Financial, and the launch of the Sun Life Financial Nutrition Hub, in conjunction with MLSE Foundation. Housed at MLSE LaunchPad, their youth-focused Sport for Development facility, the Nutrition Hub is an on-site, full learning kitchen dedicated to teaching healthy eating habits and the importance of a well-balanced diet to prevent type 2 diabetes to seven to 12 year olds participating in a six-week, after-school program.

To support the Sun Life Healthy Me, Healthy Community at the MLSE LaunchPad, for every slam dunk made by a Raptor at home games during the regular 2017-18 season, Sun Life Financial will donate $1,000 to a maximum donation of $200,000.

"Sun Life Financial has been an incredible partner to the Toronto Raptors family," said Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President. "They've been a long-time supporter of our organization and we are excited to partner with them on such an impactful program like Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes. We're proud to promote health and active lifestyles in our youth together and look forward to this partnership having a positive impact on the court and off."

Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes expands the exciting partnership formed with the Toronto Raptors earlier this year when Sun Life was announced as the Raptors' first ever jersey sponsor, bringing together two strong brands to team up in the fight against type 2 diabetes. The new Raptors jersey featuring the Sun Life logo was officially unveiled at the start of the 2017 pre-season on October 5.

Sun Life Financial focuses on helping people achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives, taking a holistic approach to supporting the well-being of our Clients, Employees and communities with the end goal of helping to achieve physical, mental and financial resiliency both now and in the future. Sun Life has proudly committed more than $22 million in support of diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives since announcing support of the cause in 2012.

Sun Life Financial in the community
At Sun Life Financial, we are committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life and we're proud to hold the Caring Company designation from Imagine Canada. Community wellness is an important part of our sustainability commitment and we believe that by actively supporting the communities in which we live and work, we can help build a positive environment for our Clients, Employees, advisors and shareholders. Our philanthropic support focuses on two key areas: health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives through our Team Up Against DiabetesTM platform; and arts and culture, through our award-winning Making the Arts More Accessible TM program. We also partner with sports properties in key markets to further our commitment to healthy and active living. Our Employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering over 40,000 hours each year and contribute to making life brighter for individuals and families across Canada. Read more about Sun Life Financial in the community.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

About Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
As Canada's largest child and youth-serving organization, Boys and Girls Clubs provide vital programs and services to over 200,000 young people in nearly 700 communities across Canada. During critical out-of-school hours, our Clubs offer safe spaces where young people can explore their interests, develop their strengths, and realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, mental health, and more. Our trained staff and volunteers help young people build the confidence and sense of belonging they need to overcome barriers, form positive relationships and mature into responsible, caring adults. Visit www.bgccan.com to learn more and follow us at www.facebook.com/bgccan and www.twitter.com/bgccan.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars. 

Media Relations Contact:
Yasna Criscione
Manager, Corporate Communications
Sun Life Financial
T. 416-204-8110

Sun Life Financial, Toronto Raptors, NBA Canada and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada team up to launch Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes. (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Inc.)

Sun Life Financial Inc. (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Inc.)

Toronto Raptors (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Inc.)

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.