Ryan Reynolds donates $5,000 to help Canadian boy with rare illness get $2.8 million drug

By Zach Harper

Ryan Reynolds is famous not just for his incredible acting ability, but also for having a huge heart. His renowned kindness caught some attention this week when he donated $5,000 to help an Alberta boy who has a rare disease.

Kaysen Martin, 1, has spinal muscular atrophy Type 1 and needs Zolgensema, a $2.8 million gene therapy drug that can help him, so long as he gets it before he turns two years old on July 17 or he will no longer qualify for it. Most children with the illness do not live to see that age.

Over the weekend, Jillian Harris took to her Instagram Story to share a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for Kayden to get the drug. He only needs to take it once, but it's quite obviously prohibitively expensive.

Ryan chipped in and was one of several people who've helped pitch in more than $250,000 so far for Kaysen.

"Never in a million years did I think someone like Ryan Reynolds would notice my son and his campaign," Lana Bernardin, Kaysen's mom, told Global News. "I really have no words. The outpouring of support from so many people is so amazing."

This isn't the first time in recent weeks that Ryan's been generous. Just last week, Ryan and Blake Lively donated $200,000 to an institute at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University that encourages the leadership of Indigenous women.

"The world's changing quickly, and one thing we're sure of is that communities are best led from within," Ryan said in a statement at the time. "Indigenous women are the leaders who will develop and implement approaches to increase social capital of their own communities, organizations and nations."

The couple also donated $5,000 to the Edmonton Food Bank in April to help out with the coronavirus pandemic.

That same month, Ryan also worked with Canadian Olympic hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser to help her collect personal protective equipment for health care workers across the Greater Toronto Area.

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