Continuing The Fight Against Diabetes On Basketball Courts Across Canada

Sun Life Financial, the Toronto Raptors and the NBA expand Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes, a national program that encourages healthy living to prevent type 2 diabetes

TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2018 /CNW/ - Nothing but net for kids across Canada as Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF), the Toronto Raptors and the NBA team up to expand the highly successful Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program to 20 Boys and Girls Clubs within the regions of Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Saskatoon, Halifax and the Greater Toronto Area.

The six-week program, which initially launched last fall in select Boys and Girls Clubs in Toronto, was a resounding success with youth from across the city experiencing the positive effects of healthy eating and active living. Of the 400 participants from the fall launch, the Dunk for Diabetes program was able to achieve great milestones, such as 601 hours of reduced screen time, 4,454 fruits and vegetables consumed and over 23,000 squats completed over the six-week period.

 "I had so much fun in the Dunk for Diabetes program," said Iyla N., age 10, Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough. "I learned what type 2 diabetes is and how to stop it by eating healthy foods like fruits, salads and smoothies and to play lots of sports."

Leveraging partnerships with the Toronto Raptors and the NBA through their NBA Fit health and wellness platform, Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes aims to bring awareness to type 2 diabetes while teaching youth at Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. The program has participants take part in weekly, basketball-themed fitness and nutrition challenges, with the chance to win prizes after each challenge is completed. The top 10 kids from each Club location will celebrate their achievements with NBA talent at the end of the program.

As part of the national expansion, over 600 kids from Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada are participating in this innovative six-week program and have committed to maintaining healthy lives on and off the court.

"It was so inspiring to see firsthand what the GTA youth learned in the program and we are thrilled to be able to expand Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes to more cities across Canada," said Lisa Ritchie, Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Life Financial. "The key to start preventing type 2 diabetes is through awareness, education and living a healthy lifestyle and what better way to do this than by getting active on a basketball court. By continuing to partner with the Toronto Raptors, the NBA and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, we can work together to alter the course of this preventable disease."

"At Boys and Girls Clubs, we know that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are critical to prevent type 2 diabetes and other health risks," said Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. "The Dunk for Diabetes pilot program has received rave reviews from our youth and staff, and thanks to Sun Life Financial, NBA Canada, and the Raptors, we are proud to enter the second phase of this national initiative and bring the program to 20 more locations in 2018."

"We are encouraged to see the growing number of Canadian youth playing basketball and embracing healthy lifestyles through the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program," said Dan MacKenzie, Vice-President and Managing Director, NBA Canada. "The national expansion through NBA Fit will not only impact participants, but will see diabetes awareness and education through sport benefit communities across the country."

"On behalf of the Toronto Raptors, congratulations to all the participants of the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program," said Dwane Casey, Head Coach, Toronto Raptors.  "After six short weeks, hundreds of youth have accomplished so much towards living healthy, active lifestyles and the Toronto Raptors are proud to have been a part of their achievements. We look forward to continuing our work with Sun Life to expand the program across the country and positively impact the lives of more Canadian youth."

The Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program is an extension of the ground-breaking partnership Sun Life formed with the Toronto Raptors and the NBA earlier this year when the company announced it was the Raptors' first ever jersey sponsor, bringing together two prominent brands to team up in the fight against type 2 diabetes.

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.

To learn more about Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes please visit sunlifedunkfordiabetes.ca.

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 Diabetes TM 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 the NBAThe NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women's National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League, set to launch in May 2018.  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2017-18 season featured 108 international players from a record 42 countries and territories.  NBA Digital's assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.4 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. NBA FIT is the league's comprehensive health and wellness platform that encourages NBA fans "Be Active, Eat Healthy and Play Together" through programs, events and products.  

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: Hannah StewartSenior Specialist, Corporate CommunicationsSun Life FinancialT. 647-256-2136, M. 416-557-4428 hannah.stewart@sunlife.com

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

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