April 05, 2021

Sun Life donates $600,000 to help people with diabetes live healthier lives

Donation supports expansion of Toronto Rehab's virtual diabetes resource hub

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

TORONTO, April 5, 2021 /CNW/ - Worldwide more than 463 million people are living with diabetes, one of the fastest growing health challenges of our time. To help those living with the disease, Sun Life is donating $600,000 to Toronto Rehab-UHN. The funding will support the development of education materials for a new virtual diabetes program. The program provides information, tools and tips to prevent type 2 diabetes and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Sun Life's initial commitment of $1 million in 2016 supported the launch of Sun Life Diabetes College; an online, interactive resource hub that helps people with diabetes manage their health through exercise, education and living a healthy lifestyle. The pandemic has forced more people online, increasing the need for virtual programs offering health-related information. Sun Life is committed to investing in programs that raise awareness of diabetes and drive healthy behaviour change.

"We believe that empowering individuals to take charge of their health can have a real impact. With the number of Canadians affected by diabetes growing every year, investing in programs focused on education and healthy habits can create positive and lasting change," said Linda Dougherty, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Strategy and Global Marketing, Sun Life. "As a large global organization, we are proud to champion diabetes awareness, prevention and care around the world. We are pleased to renew our commitment to Toronto Rehab. The important work they are doing is helping those with diabetes live healthier lives."

Since launching in 2016, close to 16,000 Canadians have accessed the tools, tips and information on the resource hub. Topics include how to prevent, manage and treat diabetes, as well as the importance of exercise and a healthy diet. For individuals living with diabetes, Sun Life Diabetes College has helped increase:

  • Knowledge about diabetes (22%)
  • Physical activity (21%) and motivation to exercise (14%)
  • Commitment to eating a healthy diet (25%)

The new 16-week exercise and education based virtual program will help participants anywhere in Ontario manage diabetes and achieve health and lifestyle goals. A team of health experts including kinesiologists, dietitians, social workers, psychologists and physicians will educate participants on how to treat their diabetes, get active, eat healthy and take control of their well-being.

"We are grateful to continue our collaborative partnership with Sun Life," said Dr. Paul Oh, Medical Director of UHN's Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program. "Together, we are improving and expanding Sun Life Diabetes College in response to our growing, worldwide need for effective, virtual diabetes education and care."

Since 2012, Sun Life has committed more than $37 million globally towards diabetes awareness, prevention and care. A few examples of our support in Canada include:

  • Canada's Children's Hospital Foundations - Invested $2 million to establish the Sun Life Child and Youth Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program. An initiative to help children and adolescents adopt healthy living and lifestyle choices.
  • Right to Play – Donated $1.5 million to support Indigenous youth through the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program.
  • Montreal Heart Institute – Committed $450,000 to fund a diabetes prevention clinic to identify diabetes through early detection and promote healthy lifestyle strategies.

Learn more about the impact Sun Life is making around the world in the 2020 Sustainability Report.

Celebrating 100 Years of Insulin
Sun Life has a long history supporting health and wellness in Canada. As an early sponsor of the Banting Research Foundation, Sun Life donated $25,000 in 1925 for medical research. The foundation was named after Frederick G. Banting, one of two Canadians who discovered insulin. Today, we are proud to sponsor 100 Years of Insulin: Celebrating its impact on our lives. This free, virtual event on April 14, 2021, hosted by the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, Diabetes Action Canada, and the University of Toronto Department of Medicine, will share research updates, stories on living with diabetes, and the latest advances related to insulin. Learn more here.

Sun Life in the community
At Sun Life, we are committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life. 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 health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, and care initiatives; and mental health, supporting programs and organizations with a focus on building resilience and coping skills.

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 close to 12,000 hours each year and contribute to making life brighter for individuals and families across Canada.

Learn more about Sun Life in the community.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.