The inaugural Raptors for Research was a slam dunk for game-changing research. It was a historic event during a historic year – a day three years in the making, sidelined by the pandemic and supported by the entire community every step of the way.
On March 5, 2023, the excitement was palpable at the inaugural Raptors for Research 3-on-3 basketball tournament, presented by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, as more than 500 participants from 60 teams turned out at the TRIO Sportsplex in Vaughan to rise up for research. And rise they did: the event raised more than $750,000 in support of game-changing research at Sinai Health’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), highlighting the power of sport to bring people together for something bigger than themselves.
Funds raised will help fuel discovery research in cancer, diabetes, women’s and infants’ health and neurodevelopment at the LTRI. It’s not an exaggeration to say that our scientists’ work is shaping the future of clinical care. Research at the LTRI has led to a new class of drug being developed to treat diabetes, and 40 per cent of our research relates to cancer, putting the LTRI at the forefront of transformative cancer discoveries.
And, with Mount Sinai’s position as one of the busiest maternal-fetal care centres in Canada, LTRI scientists excel in this field, with discoveries such as the development of a blood test to distinguish false labour from preterm labour, thereby improving outcomes for mom and baby.
Our neuroscientists are also making discoveries that will lead to a future where physicians can detect, slow, prevent and, hopefully, reverse neurodegenerative diseases and damage occurring at any age.
Did you know that one of the biggest challenges facing scientists today is stable funding? As one of the world’s top-ranked biomedical research institutes, LTRI relies on the support of our community – on the generosity and fighting spirit that were both solidly on display at Raptors for Research.
Game day was truly one for the books: when guests weren’t competing on the court, off-court they were treated to a day of live entertainment, delicious food, on-site massage therapy, lots of fun, games and prizes, and even a few celebrity appearances.
Some familiar faces got behind the event: former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse took to social media to encourage fundraising, and the one and only Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia came on board as the official Raptors for Research event ambassador, bringing his passion and energy for the game – and a star-studded celebrity team – to complete the ultimate game-day experience.
Toronto Raptors North Side Crew dancers were there to get people excited for the day, and award-winning spoken-word artist Hannah Flores created an original piece for the opening ceremonies. Even “The Raptor” – the Toronto Raptors’ mascot – made a special appearance, helping cheer on the players from the sidelines.
Congratulations to Barry’s Bootcamp and Torys LLP, the top performing and top fundraising teams, who battled it out on the court during the finals at the OVO Athletic Centre – official training centre of the Toronto Raptors – and came away with the Raptors for Research inaugural trophies.
This event is a game-changer for the LTRI and the ability to propel future discoveries. Thank you to our community for championing Sinai Health and getting this premier event off the ground. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible. Stay tuned for plans in the works to make the event even bigger and better next year!
The event raised more than $750,000 in support of game-changing research at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, highlighting the power of sport to bring people together for something bigger than themselves.
Interested in participating in the 2024 event?
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Photography by Thomas Skrlj