Brad Boyes raises a leaf to women’s health

It didn’t take long for newly signed Toronto Maple Leafs forward Brad Boyes to contribute to the city that drafted him.

Boyes joined the Shoppers Drug Mart team Thursday to help raise money for Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH).

Shoppers Drug Mart’s “Growing Women’s Health Campaign” has aided women in the East York community for the last seven years, raising more than $180,000 in that time. With the help of customers, 12 local Shoppers locations will be raising money at their counters until Oct. 9, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going toward cancer care and women’s health at TEGH.

Mississauga native Boyes is no stranger to the East York community and Toronto East General Hospital. He worked at a local McDonald’s during McHappy Day in 2013, an event that raised over $74,000 for the hospital. In 2012, he played Santa with his wife and daughter, bringing toys to the sick children at Christmas. He also participated in the TEGH Danforth Dash Bed Race.

Although he grew up in the west end, there is something about the East York hospital that continues to call Boyes’ name.

“The preparation that goes into everything and the reach of this hospital is great. The hospital factors into a number of different areas, from pediatric to women’s health and the ER, so it touches a lot of different people,” Boyes said after Thursday’s presentation.

“The events have been great. They put them all over the east side of town and up at the Danforth, and I think that sticking to a charity like this and this hospital, it’s nice that we can focus all our energy towards it.”

The annual fundraiser gives the East York community a chance to make a difference for women’s health at their local hospital. Customers can purchase a “Leaf” for $1, a “Butterfly” for $5 or a “Cardinal” for $50. Each decoration can be personalized and will be displayed on the Tree of Life in the store.

As Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy owner Jayesh Tailor says, every donation makes a difference.

“Each leaf, one dollar at a time, is collected over the years and we can see its impact,” he says, adding that “200,000 goes a long way in supporting the hospital with all the resources that they need.”

Boyes’ return home to Toronto is not only great news for the Maple Leafs, but also for the East York community. And while his commitment to improving Toronto East General Hospital is admirable, he’s not the only one who can make a difference. When asked why customers should donate, he put it into perspective.

“It’s really important,” he said. “Everyone has a mother; everybody in some way is going to be affected by a woman in their life who has health issues.”

Justin Van Dette, Anthony Farnell, Jayesh Tailor, and Brad Boyes (left to right) talk about the Growing Women's Health Campaign.
(L-R) Justin Van Dette, Anthony Farnell, Jayesh Tailor and Brad Boyes talk about the Growing Women’s Health Campaign.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Brad Boyes puts his donation Leaf on the Tree of Life at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Brad Boyes puts his donation leaf on the Tree of Life at Shoppers Drug Mart.