Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds is putting his public profile to good use, raising close to $1 million dollars for the SickKids Foundation, which benefits Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, by way of an ugly sweater campaign. Reynolds had a busy 2021, starring in Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, Free Guy, and Red Notice. However, the star announced late last year he'll be taking a break from acting for a time.
Reynolds' charity campaign has an unlikely origin story. The idea was born out of a prank played on the star by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. In 2018, the two convinced Reynolds a function he was attending was an ugly sweater party. The resulting Instagram photo, which went somewhat viral, shows Jackman and Gyllenhaal laughing in street clothes as Reynolds stands between them, downtrodden and wearing a ridiculous red and green sweater adorned with a gold bow. "These f*cking a**holes said it was a sweater party," the photo's caption read. But now it seems Reynolds is getting the last laugh as he's parlayed that joke, and that hideous sweater, into a benevolent cause.
Since the prank, the sweater became the unofficial trademark for the "Help Ryan Help SickKids" campaign, with proceeds going to the hospital. Reynolds took to Instagram to announce the success of his 2021 sweater initiative, informing his followers that he'd helped to raise more than $850,000 for the hospital. The post, which shows a triumphant-looking Reynolds sporting one of the unsightly sweaters, gives thanks to Samsung Canada, which donated $100,000 to the cause, and to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who auctioned off player-signed jerseys for the campaign. Reynolds has run similar campaigns in the past. 2021's had a special focus on acquiring new scrubs for the hospital's frontline healthcare workers. Check out Reynolds' post below:
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The longstanding prank war between Reynolds and Jackman has been public knowledge for quite some time. The two have been frenemies since they co-starred in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which would first introduce Reynolds' Deadpool, albeit a much different version than the one viewers know today. The ribbing is always clearly done in jest, but Jackman's ugly sweater joke did more than make for a fun story; it led to lasting, tangible effects for the Hospital for Sick Children.
The relationship between Reynolds and Jackson is always a fun one to watch play out. Now, thanks to Ryan Reynolds' ugly sweater campaign, not only does their friendly rivalry provide endless entertainment, it's also providing good to the world. Anyone looking to contribute to the cause can make a donation to SickKids.
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Source: Ryan Reynolds