Another Orientation Week is over and was concluded by another Shinerama, Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser. Shinerama raises money for cystic fibrosis research, a genetic disorder that currently has no cure.
This year’s Shinerama event raised just over $14,700 in support of cystic fibrosis research. An additional $6,600 was raised prior to Shine Day through various fundraisers led by Shinerama’s chair, Ben Porter.
These fundraising events took place all summer and included car washes, Canada Day fundraisers and weekly trivia nights on The Cellar’s patio.
Porter worked tirelessly to pull these off, as well as organize Shine Day—a job he admits was difficult at times, but totally worth it in the end.
“Being able to wake up and go to the office in the morning knowing I was going to be making a difference in someone’s life was so rewarding,” he said.
Shinerama was the first opportunity for new students to get engaged in fundraising efforts. Last Saturday, the city was flooded with first-years holding BBQs, car washes, working at the market and walking door-to-door collecting spare change.
These first-years were accompanied by Orientation leaders such as Emma Horsman, an House Orientation Committee member from Harrison House. Horsman and her group ran a BBQ at the Sobeys on Regent Street while helping carry groceries and shining shoes.
“Not only does [Shinerama] give you a really good sense of feeling good because you’re making a difference and stuff, but it also—with so many students involved—impacts it in such a huge way,” said Horsman..
Shinerama participants had the opportunity to hear from one of the people that benefits from their fundraising efforts Saturday morning before students hit the streets to start collecting.
Jessica Erb is a branch manager at BMO’s UNB site—unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at a young age and has been battling it ever since.
Erb talked to the group about her initial struggles with the disease and coping with the obstacles it created in her life—ones others did not have to live with. “I thought if I worked hard enough, I could have a life similar to anyone’s,” she said.
Erb described her sorrow when she discovered—at the age of 14—that the median life expectancy for those living with cystic fibrosis was 32. On Saturday, Erb stood before the crowd of students proudly proclaiming her age: 32.
“Because of the fundraising efforts from all of you, I am able to take deeper breaths, cough a little lighter and live life larger than ever.”
University-led Shinerama events raise enough money each year to increase the life expectancy of those with cystic fibrosis by ten months. This is an impressive impact that can be hard to visualize for a student who spent five hours flipping burgers at a gas station one day.
But is comforting to be reminded of how much power collective action has—and even more comforting to think that you’ll be surrounded by a huge body capable of such things for your next four years at university. All you have to do is harness it.