Owen and Kyle Rao

A dynamic duo

Twin brothers Owen and Kyle show how even the smallest event can make a big difference for MSH.

In the summer of 2021, 11-year-old Owen Rao was reading a book that gave him an amazing idea.

The book was Lunch Money by Andrew Clements, which tells the story about a boy of the same age who sells comic books at school. Owen quickly ran to his twin brother Kyle and shared his cool and simple plan to raise funds over the summer, by selling freezies! Together, they named their new business the ‘Warm-Hearted Freezie Sale’ and decided that all of the funds generated would support their local hospital, MSH.

Now at the age of 13, the twins have experienced the difference having expert care close to home can make. Earlier this year, Owen recovered from a broken wrist and previously sprained his knee playing hockey. During both injuries, MSH was there for him and his family when they needed it. “The doctors and nurses and everybody at MSH are all really friendly,” says Owen. “I love our hospital, it's so great!”

“Fun” raising events

For the past three summers, the twins have sold freezies in Markham’s Berczy Park. During the first year, they encouraged neighbours, family, and friends to purchase freezies and cans of pop. The following two summers, they added balloon animals and live musical performances featuring Owen playing the saxophone at their stand. The duo split all the responsibilities, from designing the posters and promoting the event to operating sales and creating the balloon art. 

Their passion and drive have encouraged other friends to get involved in helping the hospital as well. It is important to them to inspire others to make a difference and they are proud to be ambassadors for MSH.

“We decided since they helped us so much, why don't we help them back,” says Owen. 

“Because in the end, when a lot of people do something small, it adds up to something big!” adds Kyle.

When a lot of people do something small, it adds up to something big!

Kyle Rao

Initiatives like the freezie sale also help educate the community about why hospitals rely on donations. The government can’t fund the purchase of all equipment needs, such as CT scanners and ultrasound machines. It is the community’s generosity that helps drive innovation and equip the hospital with life-saving tools.

“Fundraisers, no matter the size, inspire others to participate and help make a difference, and when it begins at a young age, it often inspires a lifelong passion for helping others and giving back to the community,” says Allan Bell, Vice President, Community Relations and Corporate Partnerships at MSH Foundation.  

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