How Ryan Reynolds and the Toronto Maple Leafs helped raise $850,000 for the SickKids Foundation

The Canadian star and hockey team took part in an ugly sweater fundraising campaign over the holiday season

Ryan Reynolds has one of the biggest hearts in Hollywood, and he and Blake Lively are known for their generosity and philanthropy as much as they are their acting skills and fantastic senses of humour.

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The British Columbia-born star gave back in a big way again over the holiday period – and we partly have his infamous Christmas sweater (he's dubbed it "aesthetically challenged") to thank. 

In December, Ryan partnered with the SickKids Foundation to try and raise money for the life-saving care it provides to youngsters. As he said in a clip released back then, the sweater has "become a symbol for how much we all care about children at SickKids Hospital," which is based in Toronto. He sent some doctors and nurses scrubs based on the hilarious sweater, and encouraged fans to donate before midnight on Dec. 24. If they did, Samsung Canada would match any donations up to $100,000. 

Plenty of people – including celebrities such as Canadian Olympic legend Andre De Grasse (who you can see in his sweater above) – got involved in the campaign, taking to Instagram to share photos and videos of themselves in Ryan's ugly sweater as they encouraged their friends and followers to donate to SickKids. The Toronto Maple Leafs also decided to pitch in, and signed a limited number of Ryan Reynolds holiday sweaters to raise funds for the hospital. They donned some of them during a practice, which you can watch below.

Incredibly, more than $850,000 was raised for the SickKids Foundation, thanks to Ryan and his ugly sweater army of care. 

"Turning something ugly into something beautiful is what @sickkidsvs does every day," Ryan wrote on Instagram as he thanked fans for everything they'd done to help. 

Earlier this month, Ryan and Blake donated to Sands, a U.K. charity that helps people going through stillbirth and neonatal death. They were moved to action after Jordan Davis, a Wrexham A.F.C. player and his girlfriend, Kelsey Edwards, went through the heartbreaking experience of their son Arthur Andrew Davies being stillborn in December. 

Ryan and his friend Rob McElhenney are the co-owners of Wrexham A.F.C., a Welsh football club they bought in 2020. Rob and his wife, actress Kaitlin Olson, joined with Ryan and Blake to give 10,000 (about CA$17,300) through a GoFundMe page Kelsey set up to give to Sands in Arthur's memory. 

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Last August, Ryan and Blake also donated US$10,000 to Hope for Haiti to help those affected by the deadly earthquake that rocked the Caribbean nation that month. The couple have also consistently given to food banks during the coronavirus pandemic, donating US$1 million to oraganizations including Food Banks Canada in early 2021. They also donated CA$250,000 to the Calgary-based Influence Mentoring Society, a program that helps Indigenous students in post-secondary institutions. 

MORE: Ryan Reynolds is using part of his salary to hire BIPOC crew members in Vancouver

The year before, Ryan also used part of his salary on Red Notice to hire BIPOC crew members in Vancouver.

Thanks to Ryan, the Toronto Maple Leafs and everyone who donated to Sick Kids! You're all heroes!