University volunteers take to the streets in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, 200 university students marched through the downtown region of Saint John. Their goal was to raise money as part of Shinerama – Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser supporting research for Cystic Fibrosis.
Clad in orange t-shirts, the volunteers walked around the city market, Saint John and Saint Malachy’s High Schools and the surrounding streets. In keeping with the event’s name, students also shined the shoes of people who were willing to donate funds.
Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has been working to spread awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and to help patients with the disease. While a cure has yet to be found, patients can seek treatment that allows them to manage their health and live normal lives.
Anthony Enman, the student organizer, says Shinerama means a lot to him. He has seen how serious living with Cystic Fibrosis can be. “Personally, I know a family we are friends with and both of their boys were born with Cystic Fibrosis,” he said. “One of them has since passed, so, for me, it just feels right to be raising money for the cause.
Dr. Robert MacKinnon, the vice-president of UNBSJ, was present at the opening ceremony in Market Square. He said he was pleased to see so many students–a “sea of orange” – encouraging people to donate. “When you volunteer, you’re not only helping raise money for Cystic Fibrosis,” he said. “You’re doing it for the betterment of your community.”
Enman said that the two hundred volunteers demonstrated positivity and hope. Every year, he finds it encouraging for students participating on Shine Day. “It not only makes you feel good about the work that has gone into making the day happen, but you feel proud of the students who are there giving their time to help make a difference,” he said.
Michael Crate, a fourth year psychology student, worked as one of Shinerama’s student organizers on Wednesday. He described the volunteer movement as being helpful and interactive for those who get involved. “It is good to contribute to a cause, but they were able to have fun in the process,” he said. “For some new students from outside the province, this is a new community, so it serves as a nice introduction to Saint John.”
Cynthia Fairweather, a first year Arts student, was pleased to take part in Shinerama. She said it was exciting to be a part of the university community and contribute as a volunteer. “It’s a great way to support people with this disease, to cover their medical expenses and to spread awareness,” she says. “I think Shinerama really makes a difference in helping those with cystic fibrosis.”
Shawna Levesque, a first year science student, was impressed with the number of volunteers sporting positive attitudes. “I am really surprised by the turnout of the students who came out to support Shinerama,” says Levesque. “The amount of volunteers for this cause makes it all worthwhile.”
By the day’s end, the volunteers raised over $5,000 in donations. Enman said it was a great feeling to have raised half of their $10,000 goal. “I try not to focus or compare from year to year – because every year is different,” he says. “I am very pleased with the amount raised and feel confident we can reach our goal before December.”