The fight against CF is not over
“In, out, in, out. Breathe. Most of us don’t think like that when we take a breath, but people with Cystic Fibrosis do with each and every breath.” Says fourth year Bailey DeEll in a Facebook post made with regards to Cystic Fibrosis and Shinerama. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults according to the Shinerama website.
Shinerama, if one doesn’t already know, is Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
There is currently no cure to CF. It has many effects on the body, but primarily on the digestive system and lungs. The degree to which someone with CF will suffer depends on the person. Ultimately, however, CF will progress over time. Eventually ongoing infection, destruction of the lungs and loss of lung function leads to death at an earlier age than someone without CF.
CF includes a long list of complications with digestive problems being at the top. Someone suffering from CF will have less pancreatic enzymes and consequential vitamin deficiencies. This causes trouble digesting fats and proteins. Over 4 200 Canadians with Cystic Fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics, which are costly to uphold.
Shinerama currently includes over 35 000 student volunteers from 45 Canadian Universities. StFX is proudly part of this statistic. The funding earned by these hard working students and volunteers is crucial in fighting against Cystic Fibrosis. If you weren’t sure why O-Crew so eagerly dragged you out of bed the morning after the big concert in your frosh week, this is why.
Shinerama began in 1964, and since then has spread across the country and touched the lives of countless Canadians. Since then, Shinerama has raised about $27 million dollars, which has been used to fund the necessary research, supplies, resources and treatments for prolonging and improving the lives of those suffering from CF.
It is important to note that, as stated on the Shinerama website, “A child diagnosed in the 1960s was not expected to live long enough to attend kindergarten. The median age of survival of Canadians is among the highest in the world, at 53.3 years of age in 2016.” This is not coincidental, but has a direct correlation with the efforts put forward by Canadians to ameliorate the lives of those suffering from CF.
On Saturday, September 8, StFX students took to the streets of Antigonish and its surrounding areas to fundraise for none other than Shinerama. With a huge help from O-Crew, a group of primary first-year students have since raised over $11 000 this year. This doesn’t mean that the fundraising is over.
“While Shinerama focuses its attention on one part of the year, people with CF have a tough time breathing no matter what month it is.” Lucas Middleton, fourth year O-Crew member and Shinerama Volunteer explains. He urges everyone to continue to support the cause no matter what the amount, as it will go a long way for those with CF. “Whatever you can afford to give, even skipping that morning coffee and donating $5, helps more than you know.”
To donate to Shinerama, one can do so by visiting StFX’s online Shinerama page and making whatever contribution they wish. The fight is not over and progress can be made at any time. Every week in Canada, a child is diagnosed with CF. Of the Canadians who died in 2016 of CF, half were under the age of 39 years. As Shinerama itself puts it, any help will help “breathe life into the future of Canadians who are struggling to breathe everyday.”