Shine bright for cystic fibrosis


StFX shines for a cure

The sun is just beginning to rise in the east, sun beams streak in through your cracked blinds. You rustle in bed, not wanting to be disturbed. SHINERAMA! SHINERAMA! SHINERAMA! That is how the morning started on Saturday, September 9th, 2017, by having the 2017-18 Orientation Crew screaming and acting like hooligans in the residence buildings. By now, most of you are familiar with Shinerama. If you’re an incoming student, the Students’ Union and O-Crew tried their absolute hardest to explain just exactly what Shinerama is. Do you think you have a good grasp by now? I’ll just give you a quick recap so that you can follow along. Shinerama is an organization that raises awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The organization raises money to help fund research and give patients financial aid, through medication, therapy and everything that goes along with having this disease.

This year, the Shine executive team worked tirelessly to organize a successful fundraiser. Their hard work most certainly paid off. The exec team leaders this year were Nia MacFarlane, Monica Miller, Christi Joyce and Gabi Valencia.

This year, the exec team wanted to bring more awareness of the harsh side effects caused by Cystic Fibrosis, namely the mental strain it can have on its patients, which is often overlooked. On Wednesday September 5th, Nia MacFarlane and Monica Miller delivered a powerful speech at the first X-talks of the year. They spoke in front the honorable LieutenantGeneral Romeo Dallaire, as well as members of the Antigonish community and the members of the student body. MacFarlane and Miller touched on how patients with Cystic Fibrosis can feel very isolated while having this disease, since they cannot meet other patients that have CF, in fear that they may spread harmful bacteria that could prove fatal. The speech left the crowd in awe, captivated by the passion the two women brought to the stage. This passion spoke to the desire to make this year’s Shinerama the most successful one yet and that is just what happened. With great excitement, the Shine team announced that this year StFX raised $27,685.

Photo courtesy of StFX Students' Union

Photo courtesy of StFX Students' Union

The day could not have gone better; the sun was shining, frosh were excited to participate, and spirits were high. It was a long week for the freshmen, the night before had been the Dzeko concert, and yet for the most part, many managed to stumble out of bed, put on a smile and do their best for Shinerama. The energy that helped fuel the day was phenomenal. At each station, one could find the students and O-Crew members singing, cheering, playing guitar and smiling. Cystic Fibrosis is a harsh disease and it was beautiful to watch a community come together and shine bright for CF.

I spoke with MacFarlane, one of the exec leaders, and she stated, “I remember setting our campaign goal of $25,000 and being absolutely terrified at such a daunting and seemingly unobtainable number. Fast forward to now; our preliminary campaign total has reached over $27,000. We could not be more grateful to the StFX, Antigonish, and New Glasgow communities for their generosity and willingness to learn about Cystic Fibrosis”. Continuing on by saying “It felt like every day we hit a new milestone, whether that was selling out of t-shirts, passing our online fundraising goal of $10,000, or having our campaign video be viewed over 30,000 times”.

MacFarlane described the feeling of relief and tears of joy as they exceeded their total campaign goal of $25,000. Ending her interview by expressing “It has been an incredible week and I’m so proud of what we were able to accomplish, but I’m mostly proud that we are one step closer to CF standing for ‘cure found’.”

For Rachael Turner, a third-year Earth Sciences major with cystic fibrosis, Shinerama is even more meaningful. Rachael had this to share about how she feels when she sees her school coming together to rally and raise money for CF, “It is so humbling to see a small university collectively come together and raise funds for an amazing cause that is so close to my heart. It is an incredible feeling seeing first year students contribute their free time to volunteer with Shinerama, and to help make their Orientation Week bigger than itself. These students have a direct impact on the people living with Cystic Fibrosis and I hope they know, that as someone with Cystic Fibrosis myself, I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for their generosity!”.

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The success of Shinerama was the perfect way to kick start another year here at StFX. I know for myself it has made me an even more proud Xaverian. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Shinerama and seeing just what else we can do to help find the cure for Cystic Fibrosis.