/R E P E A T -- UNICEF Canada, along with Canada Soccer & 7,238 fans at Tim Hortons Field break Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people simultaneously giving a high-five/

May 30, 2015, 07:00 ET from UNICEF Canada

UN children's agency kicked off #HighFiveIt Campaign to celebrate women's soccer and save children's lives—first $1 in Canadian donations to be matched by the Government of Canada

HAMILTON, ON, May 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Tonight at the pre-world cup friendly match between the Canadian Women's National Soccer Team and their English rivals, UNICEF Canada, with support from members of the Canadian women's team, lead 7,238 fans at Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field in breaking the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people simultaneously giving a high-five. The previous record of 4,696 people was held by The Kroger Co. in the US and was set on April 16, 2013.

The record-breaking event kicked off UNICEF Canada's life-saving #HighFiveIt Campaign, a partnership with the Government of Canada and Canada Soccer, that will run until throughout June as the Canadian Women's National Team competes in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™. The Government of Canada will match all Canadian contributions to #HighFiveIt up to $1 million—reaffirming Canada's long-standing partnership to save children's lives.

The world cup is the largest women's sporting event in history and it will be hosted by six Canadian cities—Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. UNICEF Canada, along with Canada Soccer, aims to engage fans and supporters during the games to save the lives of the world's most vulnerable children through #HighFiveIt.

About #HighFiveIt:
#HighFiveIt is a campaign engaging Canadians across the country to join a global movement to help stop preventable child deaths. UNICEF is encouraging people around the world to join the #HighFiveIt movement to help save kids' lives by making a $5 donation to UNICEF, capturing a fun high-five photo or video, posting it on social media and tagging five friends. All Canadian donations to #HighFiveIt, up to $1 million, will be matched by the Canadian government.

  • A $5 donation can provide clean drinking water to five children for one year.
  • A $5 donation can immunize 14 children against measles.
  • A $5 donation can give essential nutrients to three children for one day.

The #HighFiveIt Campaign was designed pro bono by MarketELLE. Production company Alterna Films and award-winning filmmaker Richie Mehta both donated their expertise and hundreds of hours of time to shooting, editing and producing a stunning 45-second PSA that will air throughout the games.

"I've seen the impact of UNICEF's work with children in Honduras and Dominica and am excited to have two of my passions—soccer and reaching children through UNICEF—come together with #HighFiveIt," said Karina LeBlanc, goalkeeper for the Canadian Women's National Team and UNICEF Canada Ambassador. "Competing in the World Cup on home soil makes me unbelievably proud to be a Canadian. We are a compassionate and generous country. I encourage Canadians to high-five every time their favourite team scores or a goalkeeper makes a great save and donate $5 so UNICEF can reach the world's most vulnerable children to help them survive and thrive."

"It's phenomenal to see Canadians come together to break this record—our national pride is so palpable at an event like this. Watching thousands of people high-five to save lives underscores the commitment of Canadians to the world's most vulnerable children," said Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada Chief Development Officer. "The largest women's sporting event in history is coming to Canada next week—these games can leave a legacy of lives saved. Every day, 17,000 children under-five die of mostly preventable causes. By taking part in #HighFiveIt, Canadians will help UNICEF save lives with essentials like clean water, nutrition and vaccines—and the government will match the first million dollars donated by Canadians, doubling their life-saving impact."

"Tonight UNICEF Canada made history by setting the Guinness World Records title for the most simultaneous high fives. To be able to get that many people to do the same exact thing at the same exact time is no easy feat and took months of planning and preparations," said Alex Angert, Guinness Adjudicator. "This Guinness world records achievement was the perfect way for UNICEF Canada to kick off their #HighFiveIt campaign. We are thrilled to welcome UNICEF Canada into the Guinness World Records family. This record was truly officially amazing."

Maternal, newborn and child health statistics:

  • 50 per cent of childhood deaths under age five are caused by malnutrition.
  • More than 1,000 children die every day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation.
  • 330 children die from measles every day, despite the availability of a safe, effective and affordable vaccine.
  • Every year one million children take their first and last breath on the day they are born.

Guinness World Record breaking b-roll and UNICEF photos available here.

About Canada Soccer
Canada Soccer, through its partnership with UNICEF Canada, supports development initiatives that save the lives of children and mothers around the world. The grassroots engagement bridges Canadian soccer pitches in towns from coast to coast with global efforts to save the lives of the 17,000 children who die every day from preventable causes. A natural extension to the work done by goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc (UNICEF Canada Ambassador, Olympic Bronze Medalist and the longest-serving player on Canada Women's National Team), UNICEF Canada and Canada Soccer are looking to build off of the momentum of the Women's National Team's success as ambassadors and female leaders on and off the field.

About Marketel
The #HighFiveIt campaign, including all of the digital and social media strategy as well as the TV, print and digital creative, was the brainchild (or was borne out of) Montreal-based Marketel, one of Canada's leading agencies, who developed and produced the work pro-bono on behalf of UNICEF Canada. For the #HighFiveIt campaign, Marketel leveraged an all-female team from its new marketing-to-women division, MarketELLE, which is fast becoming the Canadian leader in the world of marketing-to-women. Learn more at marketel.com and marketelle.com

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.