By Ellen Tsaprailis
An impressive $35,000 was raised by Carleton University’s Shinerama 2017 campaign to promote awareness and fund research for cystic fibrosis.
Students from the Fall Orientation program presented a cheque to Cystic Fibrosis Canada during halftime at the Ottawa Redblacks game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sept. 29, 2017. Donations continued to be collected at the game.
“This is a great reminder that Carleton was founded for the community, by the community, and being a positive contributor to the community is important for Carleton,” says Olivia Brown, a fourth-year Social Work student who was the main organizer this year.
Shinerama is Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser. Carleton is one of nearly 60 universities and colleges who participate each year. For 2017, Carleton had 18 teams signed up with between 15 and 30 volunteers per group and Brown was thrilled to note that 2,500 first-year students registered.
A series of challenges makes up Shinearama, but the main event is called Shine Day.
“Our volunteers and first years go into pre-determined areas of the city and do all sorts of things to raise money for our campaign—shining shoes, singing, dancing, using fun signs and educating the public about cystic fibrosis,” explains Brown. “We had students in Little Italy, downtown, along Bank Street, Byward Market, Elgin Street and on campus.”
There is no minimum amount that students are required to raise but most teams raised between $500 and $2,000. In addition to Shine Day, organizers held the Bling Bling challenge on the residence move-in weekend and the “Ask Me About My Beads” bracelet. The bracelets use 15 to 20 beads per chain to represent how many pills and enzymes a person living with cystic fibrosis takes before a meal to properly digest it.
Brown worked with the Student Experience Office (SEO), Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA) to plan fundraising efforts. The campaign actually ran from the beginning of January until now.
“I am super thrilled about the campaign success this year,” says Jeremy Brzozowski, SEO manager, student experience and student life. “Not only were the students (through Olivia’s leadership) able to raise a lot of funds, but they also did an incredible job of creating awareness and education around CF.”
Cystic fibrosis is a common fatal genetic disease that affects children and young adults. There is no cure, and it is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has this debilitating disease. Every week in Canada, two children are diagnosed, and one person dies from it. The median age of survival of Canadians was 52.1 years in 2015, among the highest in the world. In the 1960s, children were not expected to reach kindergarten age if diagnosed.