Big Wreck’s Ian Thornley The Sick Kids Artist Challenge

Music, art, performance, and laughter all have a powerful effect on human emotion, which can promote healing and enhance coping through expression for individuals experiencing illness. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has embarked on raising funds for a new creative arts and multimedia space, “Marnie’s Studio,” which will harness the power of creativity to improve both physical and emotional health outcomes for children receiving care at SickKids. Taking a quick break from their national tour, Ian Thornley, from Big Wreck, stopped by SickKids in Toronto on Monday to officially launch the new fundraising campaign with the first ‘challenge’ being a one on one guitar lesson with Achahk, a 14-year-old patient who recently had a lung transplant. The Artist Challenge will help raise funds to make “Marnie’s Studio” a reality. Artists are asked to share their talents with SickKids patients, raise money, and challenge other artists to do the same. For more information please visit:

This initiative engages with artists and will see them donate their time in some way to the hospital and its patients, and then ‘nominate’ another artist/band to either match what they’ve done, or one-up them in order to raise awareness for the cause. What sets the SickKids Artist Challenge apart is that the nominees are asked to do two things – share their talents with SickKids patients and raise money directly benefitting this initiative.

Big Wreck frontman and guitarist, Ian Thornley, had this to say about his visit to SickKids: “Children affected by illnesses, injuries, or anything that could put them in the hospital deserve to have the best care and a positive experience while they are there. Music is such a healing tool and can do wonders for any child who wants to escape the reality of their situation and truly express themselves.” Thornley continues, “At a time when a child may need it the most, music can provide emotional support, and attach positive memories to a time that otherwise may be bleak. Being able to raise money towards the creative arts studio is an honour, as music has helped me through many tough times in my life. Hanging out and teaching Achahk some cool tunes was really humbling and inspiring. He is such a talented kid, and he seemed to really open up once we got to playing. Seeing him laugh and smile made me want to get the word out there that this really does help, this really does make a difference.”