Organizers of this year’s Shinerama campaign are hoping to raise record-breaking funds for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at this year’s Shine Day on Sept. 16.
This year’s coordinators of the fundraiser, Jonty Chandrasena and Eric Seniuk, said that over the summer they have raised over $25,000 through various events, such as the High Society Social, and expect to exceed $50,000 on Shine Day, their biggest event of the year.
“That’s huge,” said Chandrasena. “In terms of volunteers, last year we had 350, which was the most we’ve ever had. We’re going from that to 750 this year.”
Shinerama raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by shining shoes and other items for donations.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetically inherited fatal disease in Canada. It affects multiple organs in the body, primarily the lungs and digestive track.
Excessive amounts of mucus in the lungs causes severe breathing problems for people with CF. This mucus also blocks the ducts of the pancreas, which prevents enzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food, leading to digestive problems and malnutrition.
One in every 3,600 children born in Canada has the disease, and one in 25 Canadians are carriers of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.
Individuals living with CF usually require daily physical and inhalation therapy to prevent congestion in the lungs, have a high calorie diet and take vitamin and enzyme supplements to ensure adequate nutrition and proper digestion.
Seniuk explained that since the Shinerama campaign began in 1964, the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with cystic fibrosis has increased from four years of age to over 40 years of age.
“It’s definitely proof that donating to the cause is indeed helping people with cystic fibrosis,” said Seniuk.
This year marks the 25th anniversary for the U of M’s Shinerama campaign.
“That’s 25 years of continuous Shinerama support, which at some schools is hard because it’s always new students every year, so that’s a great thing to be proud of,” said Tracey Adams, manager of special events for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Since Shinerama first began in 1964, it has grown from eight schools in southern Ontario who raised over $9,000 that year to over $20.5 million raised for research and treatment of cystic fibrosis, with 65 universities and colleges taking part across Canada this year.
“When we started in 1964, it was a way for first year students to meet new friends, get out in the community and it was just a one day type of event,” said Adams.
“Now it’s a whole year of planning events on many different levels.”
Adams explained that the Shinerama campaign is run through post secondary institutions because students usually want to make a difference.
“[ . . . ] It’s a great way of bonding with others. You’re all doing the same thing for the same cause, you’re making a difference and you’re making new friends,” said Adams.
Adams said she knows some people who met volunteering for Shinerama who are now married or are lifelong friends.
“We call it the Shinerama love,” said Adams.
On Shine Day, there will be several ‘shine sites’ set up on campus and a tent set up on the quad where students and staff can donate to the cause. There will also be several sites set up throughout the city.
Those interested in volunteering can sign up on the campaign’s website at www.umanitoba.ca/shinerama.