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How a Scarborough doctor is raising money and awareness for capes for kids in a unique way

Dr. Rageen Rajendram is raising money, and awareness, for the Capes for Kids fundraiser in a unique way – through music. 

“My story really started many years ago, as a youth myself, and going through life in Scarborough as a son of two refugee Tamil, Siri Lankan immigrants, hip hop was my way to communicate the things I was going through,” Rajendram told CP24. “And later on, you know, as a sibling to someone who was diagnosed with autism, you know, processing all of that, hip hop is really what got me through that and eventually writing.”

Today, he works as a developmental pediatrician at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, where he treats children with learning and behavioural issues such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

He uses music, specifically hip-hop and rap, to connect with the children he treats.

“As a physician, I’ve really found that [his music] has really allowed me to connect with teens and youths that I speak to everyday, and it’s not every day that a doctor walks into a room and they find someone that raps, and all of a sudden I’m the cool doc,” he said.

Rajendram has been creating music under the name ‘RageMD’ since 2017. His latest album, ‘Be Right There,’ and other singles – which can be found on Spotify, AppleMusic and Slaps – are a hit among his patients. So much so, that he is donating all the proceeds of his new song ‘I Am’ to the 8th annual Capes for Kids fundraiser.

The fundraiser aims to raise funds for programs and services for kids and teens with disabilities, like independence workshops, to purchase instruments for music therapy programs and to provide financial support for families in need of things like wheelchairs and to cover transportation costs.

“This year, our goal is to raise over a million,” said Rajendram about the fundraiser. “And really, my goal, with the song and the album that I just released, ‘I Am,’ which is really to raise money for this year, and I’m donating all the streams from this song to the hospital and the song was really inspired by my experiences here and seeing all the courage and resilience everyday with families that I see every day.”

Interestingly enough, music can be healing.

Research has found that music’s therapeutic properties can support emotional regulation and brain re-engagement, both of which can be lacking in people who struggle with either autism or ADHD.

“Kids love it,” Rajendram said about his music. “They usually don’t expect it, so I think it really helps break down some of the awkward moments and, in many ways, I find sometimes even supports the therapeutic relationship. I’ve been in therapy sessions sometimes where kids may not want to participate and then all of a sudden there’s a rapping doctor, you know, they’re more encouraged to do so.”

To find more information about the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre, or the Capes for Kids fundraiser, or to donate, go to www.capesforkids.com.