Shinerama poised to continue Orientation Week programming for Laurier students

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On Sept. 9, Wilfrid Laurier University will be celebrating its annual Shine Day. A day where volunteers and first years gather in the community to raise money for research toward Canada’s leading fatal genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis.

Shine Day, in conjunction with Shinerama, is held every year by the Students’ Union during Orientation Week.

“[Shinerama] is the largest post-secondary fundraiser in Canada,” said Hannah Cinel, the 2017 Shinerama coordinator.

Laurier founded the charity Shinerama back in 1961 and has held events for it every year since.

“It was a pretty small thing that’s grown into this massive phenomenon that occurs across Canada. We raise to help support Cystic Fibrosis research and care. Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in Canada today, so money that we raise goes to support research efforts, patient care and things like that,” Cinel said.

Anthony Tomizza – vice-president of programming and services for the Students’ Union – and Cinel both spoke to the community that Shinerama fosters.

“We’re integrating into the community and getting students to get that outreach to Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge region,” Tomizza said.

“I just know for myself that, from my first year, Shinerama was the first day that I really bonded with my floor and felt like I was part of the Laurier community, and the KW community. I think that’s a huge impact that we have and it’s not necessarily monetary in nature,” Cinel said.

However, Shinerama’s impact reaches well beyond Laurier.

“Every year that the Shinerama campaign runs we extend the median life expectancy of a patient by ten-months, just by contributing all this money to research efforts and care,” Cinel said.

“Just looking at stats, last year we were the top fundraising school in Canada. That was a pretty large accomplishment,” Tomizza said.

“We’ve pretty consistently been number one per capita in Canada. Which means, while Laurier may be smaller, we’re mighty in our efforts. Just that culture we create around wanting to get involved with these things,” Cinel said.

Shine Day isn’t the only event held by Shinerama. Through Orientation Week, they’ll be hosting the annual Shine BBQ. As well, a soft ball and dodge ball tournament will be held this year.

The dodge ball tournament was a change made last year that will be carried on.

“But it’s more about adapting to the needs of different students every year,” Cinel said.

“It’s things that are traditional to the orientation week program that we kind of take a different look at [every year] … it’s a great opportunity to be able to look at tradition and see what’s working and how we can adapt,” Tomizza said.

The efforts of Shinerama aren’t just confined to O-Week.

“We also do an online fundraising program where we get orientation week volunteers and their friends and family to reach out and ask for donations … we help with the KW chapter, we provide volunteers for their annual walk that they have where they raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada,” Cinel said.

According to the official Shinerama website, over 35,000 students volunteer with Shinerama and 50 post-secondary institutions work together to help find a cure.

Further, because of efforts to help find a cure and develop more effective support, “the median age of survival of Canadians is among the highest in the world, at 52.1 years of age in 2015”.

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