TORONTO, ON (May 27, 2014) – High above one of the busiest intersections in the country, Bay Street and Bloor Street West, passers-by can look up to see a big smiling face looking back. A 200 square foot billboard that features a one-and-a-half year old named “Pip” and the message, “What makes you different is what makes you beautiful,” is the winning entry in a Toronto radio station contest put on by Indie88 (CIND-FM).
Proud mom, Tara McCallan, submitted the story of her daughter in the Indie88 “Win Your Own Billboard” Contest:
I had a daughter a year and a half ago… a daughter that has rocked my world. My daughter Pip has gone through numerous eye and heart surgeries, wears a patch, tiny contacts, little baby glasses. So I understand why some people stare at her or are curious. What I don’t understand though is those who purposely want to make fun of Pip or others with a disability. You see she also just happens to have Down syndrome.
Since she was born I started Happy Soul Project and have made it my mission to show others that although our life is a wee bit different, it is brilliant and it is beautiful all the same. So if we could help just one person by seeing Pip and our message that “What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful” on a big, bloody billboard, that would be just about the best thing on the planet.
After receiving hundreds of submissions, judges at Indie88 and CBS Outdoor whittled the list down to the “Top 12”. Those finalists were published online and it was up to the station’s audience to vote on their favourite (limit once per day). One week later, over 45,000 votes were cast, the entry titled, “The Happy Soul Project,” was announced as the grand prize winner. After a photo shoot with Pip, the giant billboard was revealed to a teary-eyed mom. The billboard will be up for four weeks at the southwest corner of Bay and Bloor in downtown Toronto.
“Who knew one little girl could change so many lives? Tara and Pip taught us that being different is something to be thankful for. And I will always be thankful to Tara and Pip for teaching me that. I hope everyone is as touched by the Happy Soul Project billboard as I am,” said Candice Knihnitski of “The Morning After with Brian, Matt & Candice” on Indie88.
Watch the video of the billboard reveal here: http://indie88.com/happy-soul-project-tara-pip-at-the-big-reveal/
Indie88 is also putting its weight behind a separate worthwhile cause that came from another contest submission: Help Dr. J. The entry was an open and honest plea for help, from Rajiv Joshi and his friend Drew, trying to find a suitable kidney donor for Rajiv’s father, Dr. Joshi, forced into early retirement because of ongoing dialysis treatments. While the “Win Your Own Billboard” contest entry garnered thousands of votes, it fell short of winning the top spot; but the team at Indie88 surprised the pair with an offer to run a no-charge commercial campaign to help get the message out about organ donation and the search for a kidney for Dr. J. (HelpDrJ.com). The “Help Dr. J. PSA” can be heard now on Indie88 and will run for four weeks – the same length of time the winning billboard will be on display.
ABOUT CENTRAL ONTARIO BROADCASTING/INDIE88
Founded in 1988, Central Ontario Broadcasting is an independent broadcasting company that owns and operates three radio stations: Indie88 in Toronto, Rock 95 and 107.5 Kool FM in Barrie. Indie88 (CIND-FM) officially launched on August 3rd, 2013 as Canada’s first Indie station – Giving Great Music A Home. The station supports the musician behind the song and puts the audience first. Indie88 is committed to providing a platform for emerging Canadian artists and all their fans. To experience Indie88, tune in to 88.1 FM and Indie88.com.