Not even a cold and rainy Saturday could stop over 1000 volunteers from Brock University occupying stations throughout the Niagara region for Shinerama’s Shine Day: an event centered on shining a way to end cystic fibrosis.
Kelly Butson, Coordinator of Shinerama at Brock feels completely blown away by the success and support from the Niagara community. In one day alone, Brock volunteers were able to raise $20,263.68, bringing the running total of all efforts within the University to $24,844.08
Butson has been working with students, voltuneers and the rest of the Shinerama at Brock team since May to collect donations and spread the word of Shine Day. The events that took place throughout the summer included bake sales, shoe shining’s and a mini Shine Day.
“It’s one thing to fund raise and it’s another to raise awareness, and through Shinerama we’re able to do both” said Butson.
According to shinerama.ca, cystic fibrosis affects the lung and digestive system of children and young adults and is characterized by the formation of cysts and mucus that can lead to infection, inflammation and make it difficult to absorb nutrients from food.
Since Shinerama’s beginning, the life expectancy for those living with cystic fibrosis has gone from three years to well into a person’s 40’s. This is large in part to the already 23 million dollars raised from universities all over Canada for the past 49 years.
The 25 Shine Day sites were spread out across the Niagara region, occupying St. Catharines, Welland, Thorold, Niagara Falls, Fonthill and Smithville. Each site was different based on the location and services included barbeques, car washes, shoe shining and face painting. Given the weather, many Shiners found themselves using umbrellas to walk customers from retailors back to their cars. Volunteers also took to the sidewalks and stoplights to receive donations from the public.
Volunteers began arrive at Issac’s around 7:30a.m to register and get materials for their sites. Students and facutly were also able to listen to a speech by Cherie Willis, president of the cystic fibrosis Niagara chapter. Butson described Isaac’s being “completely silent” during her speech and the amount of enthusiasm, engagement and motivation that stemmed from the speech is what kept volunteers out all day, despite terrible, yet classic, St. Catharines weather.
Sara Glover, current chair national chair of Shinerama and former Shinerama coordinator for Brock, also stopped by Isaac’s to talk to the volunteers in the afternoon, and gave a speech about the organization. As the event progressed, so did the excitement.
“Towards the end of the afternoon as the money started coming in and the realization that despite the horrible weather and despite the volunteers being in the rain, everyone was still so motivated. Everyone was having a fantastic time, fighting through it just to support the cause” said Butson.
What’s next for the Shinerama team? For starters, a slow pitch tournament is scheduled on Saturday October 5. The event will have something for everyone, including a barbeque, silent auction, and games.
Students can also continue to fundraise online, by visiting shinerama.ca and making a reregistration page under Brock University. All proceeds will be added on to the total already gathered from the past four months.