UNBSJ students set out to shine

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On Sept. 5, UNBSJ volunteers took to the streets to raise money for a good cause.

For the past 44 years, UNBSJ students have been shining shoes to raise money for research on Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder affecting the lungs and digestive system. Since there is no government funding into the research of CF, Shinerama is the main source of income for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, a charitable organization committed to finding a cure.

Cystic Fibrosis is a disorder characterized by difficulty breathing, chronic lung infections, small size and low body weight. Life with cystic fibrosis can range from being seemingly normal to very painful and time consuming. Sufferers often need to follow a routine of inhalers and other therapies to keep their lungs free of congestion, as well as following a high-calorie diet and a regimen of enzymes and vitamin supplements. There is currently no cure for CF, but with continuing research life expectancy has risen from five years of age in 1964 to 41 years today.

Shine day began bright and early with a breakfast for volunteers in the UNBSJ cafeteria. Students were then bused uptown to man the stations and get their shine on to raise money for this very deserving cause. There were many booths to cater to locals and tourists alike, and with two cruise ships in port, the 44th annual Shinerama, held in Market Square uptown, was a huge success. Volunteers put on a barbecue and offered city tours, there were also crafts, a bouncy castle, costume photos, nail art and henna tattoos, all in addition to shoe-shining, a long standing frosh week tradition.

One of the largest rain storms in months threatened to put a damper on the day’s events, “There were many frantic moments on Tuesday while cancelling stations and trying to get permission to have a bounce castle indoors amongst other stations,” says Stefan Warner, UNBSJ’s Shinerama organizer, but with more than 150 rain-soaked volunteers in attendance, UNBSJ was able to raise over $3,200, which will go toward ­­­­­­­finding a cure, helping individual families with medical and travel costs, research grants and administrative costs.

To date, $21.5 million has been raised, $236,000 from the efforts of UNBSJ volunteers. There are 65 campuses participating in Shinerama this year, with a fundraising goal of $1.13 million. Despite all of the commotion, Warner was pleased with the way things turned out, “I’m very proud of everyone that came out as we had a wonderfully positive day despite the torrential downpour.”

Traditionally, Shinerama is a one day event, however, Warner has a lot more up his sleeve to raise money for CF research. “Cancelling of locations and stations ended up saving me lots of money from my shine budget, clearing up some room for added Shinerama events in the coming months.” One of those events being the “SHINEtember” party at the Canterbury Lounge on Canterbury Street, which will be taking place on Sept. 21. Shinerama volunteers get in for free if they were their Shine t-shirts to the event.