by Brigid McNutt
Feeling lonely? Students at the University of Regina were able to bid on the company of their classmates at a date auction fundraiser for cystic fibrosis on Sept. 14. The event was part of Shinerama, Canada’s largest post-secondary school fundraiser, put on by Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Now involving over 60 universities and colleges across the country, Shinerama began in the 1960s with students shining shoes to raise funds. Though this year’s campaign still included some shoe shining within the Faculty of Business Administration, it has grown into a multi-day event.
It all kicked off on Monday with "The Man on the Moon" event, in which students donated money to raise University of Regina Students’ Union President Kent Peterson up in a scissor lift. Other events included a barbeque, students canvassing around campus, a guest speaker, and the date auction.
After attending the national Shinerama conference, students in the Hill Business Students’ Society gathered 65 volunteers, and brought the campaign to the Regina campus.
Volunteer Coordinator Madison Dufault felt the event was a great way to raise awareness, as she noted that few people had an understanding of cystic fibrosis.
"It was effective because we were not just asking for money, but explaining the disease—people responded more," she said.
It is estimated that one in every 3,600 Canadians has cystic fibrosis. Primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system, it is the most common fatal genetic disease for children and young adults in Canada.
Joan Lidington, president of the North Saskatchewan chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, stated that Shinerama is one of their major partners in funding. Money raised predominantly goes to research for finding a cure, but it is also used for education, awareness, and funding for clinics.
After being pooled nationally, the money comes back to Saskatchewan to fund the clinics in Regina and Saskatoon, as well as two researchers in Saskatoon.
"More than half of the people with cystic fibrosis are young adults now, which is indicative of the progress made," said Lidington.
Dragana Dzelajlija, co-chair of the event, is already planning for next year.
"The fact that it was just limited to the Business Student’s Society was kind of hindering us. We want (Shinerama) to branch out to the entire school; it just happened that we started it. Now that the first year is done we can start thinking about next year and making it bigger and better," she said.
Dzelajlija is hopeful that last year’s national total of $1 million raised will be topped this year.