Little Miles Philip Hammond fought valiantly to reach his first birthday. The great nephew of Broken Heart Love Affair’s founding partner Bev Hammond ultimately succeeded, only to succumb to the cancer he battled for most of his life just four days later.
His death in February left a void that was not only acutely felt by his family, but also by the BHLA partners who grew to love the little boy during the course of his too-short life.
“During our first year, we all fell in love with Miles,” said BHLA partner and chief creative officer Denise Rossetto. “We were constantly looking at pictures of him, and in every single picture, he was smiling and so engaging. He was just the sweetest little guy, [and] he captured our hearts.”
BHLA wanted to create a testament to Miles that acknowledged the strength, perseverance and positivity he demonstrated in the face of adversity. That goal was made real on Tuesday, with the launch of the Miles Philip Hammond Scholarship, the first-ever scholarship for Miami Ad School Toronto.
BHLA is funding the two-year, $40,000 scholarship for individuals who have had to “overcome hardship” to pursue their creative dreams. The plan is to fund the scholarship on an ongoing basis. Miami Ad School Toronto is also matching the funding to provide a scholarship for an additional student.
They wanted to do something to honour Miles because he was so inextricably linked to the agency’s first year in business, said Rossetto.
“We had just opened during a pandemic [and] none of us had ever talked about a scholarship, but this little guy brought so much joy and inspiration to us, and we just couldn’t let that go.”
The launch is a bittersweet moment for Hammond, who said that the sadness of Miles’ death is blunted somewhat by the knowledge that his name and legacy will live on.
“This is a very public example of [the BHLA founders’] kindness and generosity, but I see this every day,” said Hammond. “I couldn’t feel more blessed and grateful.”
One of the key objectives of the scholarship is that it is open to people who might never have considered pursuing a career in marketing and advertising. The two principals at Epitaph Media, Mike Rumble and David Jowett, are donating $5,000 in media planning and buying to support that objective, while Erin Richards is using her agency Hype PR to generate additional awareness.
Rossetto said the willingness of people both inside and outside of BHLA to donate time and money, and use their connections to help launch the scholarship is emblematic of an industry that’s always willing to rally around a worthy cause.
“There’s a lot of really thoughtful and kind people in our industry—maybe there’s a connection between creativity and compassion and empathy,” she said. “I think we know how to come together and make things happen. What’s beautiful about our industry is that we can use that at our time of need.”