This shoe-shine initiative hasn’t been slowed down


Shinerama has raised money for Cystic Fibrosis for over 50 years

Maureen Mugerwa

To help a cause, individuals often taken a walk in someone else’s shoes. Since the 1960s, however, participants of Shinerama have shined other people’s shoes to raise money for cystic fibrosis.
In total, over $20 million has been raised through donations across Canadian campuses since the event went national in 1964. It originally started at Waterloo Lutheran University – now Wilfrid Laurier University – in 1961. It has grown to be Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser, last year alone raising more than $1 million.

This year marked the first time the Hill Business Students’ Society put on the event. It organized various tasks during the first week of classes that would help raise funds. The goal was also to raise awareness for the disease. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic-lung disease that can be found in children and young adults.

Dressed in blue Shinerama tee shirts, the students’ society walked around the Riddell Centre with donation boxes. There were also Shinerama events held just outside of the Riddell Centre. Those events included a BBQ, the cleaning of cars, the man on the moon event (featuring the students’ union president being lifted up on a scissor life, with the amount of donations collected dictating the time he spends up top).

There was also a guest speaker who’s son has cystic fibrosis. The guest speaker talked to students about the challenges of dealing with the disease.

One of the week’s main events was the date auction, held at the Owl. The event auctions off selected people to the highest bidder, who may then take them on a date.

Dragana Dzelajlija, who is in the faculty of business, was one of the co-chairs for the Shinerama events that took place on campus. Sometimes, getting students involved can be hard, but Dzelajlijia said, “We received good responses and it was good to finally doing something for this cause. The date auction was new and fresh and people responded well to that.”

There were 60 volunteers involved in the events that took place on campus, many of them in their first year. For the most part, it wasn’t as hard to get students involved and helping out at Shine events.

”[It is important], because it raises awareness about cystic fibrosis and it raises money to find a cure,” Dzelajlija said.

“It creates awareness of a disease that I feel is unknown within our generation,” said Tia Nyirongo, a U of R student.

While there are ways to treat cystic fibrosis, there is still no cure. Progress has been made, as the median survival age in Canada is still just 47.7 years old, a drastic improvement from just 24 years of age back in 1982. 

“The only hope we have for a cure is through increased awareness,” Nyirongo said. “I hope that more people will become active in fundraising efforts once they realize what cystic fibrosis is and the severity of this disease.”

This year’s Shinerama raised $4,564.33, a number the Hill Business Students’ Society was thankful for. The group is hoping to put the event on next year.

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