The Nipissing University Student Union raised just more than $600 on its annual Community Shine Day Saturday for cystic fibrosis. Shine Day planner Sarah Pecoskie-Schweir said the one-day event raised as much as $2,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada in pre-pandemic days. Most of that amount would have come from a movie screening Saturday evening at the Kiwanis Bandshell at the waterfront. But NUSU had to cancel the movie presentation “Raya and the Last Dragon” because of the risk of heavy rain. Pecoskie-Schweir said with the movie a no-show, the hope was the campaign could raise around $500 through the sale of Good Glaze Doughnuts, mini golf games and selling merchandise. The food, merchandise and games brought in about $544 and people also donated online to raise the total to just over $600. Parker's Your Independent Grocer helped the event out by providing $200 in concessions the students sold to the public. Canadian universities and colleges first got involved in raising money for cystic fibrosis research in 1964 when Wilfrid Laurier University launched the first Shinerama event. Nipissing University came on board with Shinerama in 1992 and Pecoskie-Schweir said over those three decades, NUSU has raised nearly $500,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Pecoskie-Schweir has been part of Shine Day since entering Nipissing University four years ago. She got involved in CF research because when she was two years old she lost her cousin, Stephen Crough, to the genetic disorder. “He's was my dad's best friend and I hear all the stories about Stephen,” Pecoskie-Schweir said. “Because I was only two when he passed away, I never got to know Stephen. So I became involved with Shinerama because I don't want other people to learn about their family members and friends through stories. I want people with cystic fibrosis to be able to live long enough so we're able to get to know them personally and not through stories.” On average, the life expectancy for a person diagnosed with cystic fibrosis is 42-50 years of age although Pecoskie-Schweir says her cousin passed away in his early 30s. There is still no cure for cystic fibrosis, which affects children and young adults. CF mostly affects the digestive system and lungs and the degree of severity differs from person to person. In Canada, it's estimated that one in every 3,600 children has CF. Individuals diagnosed with the genetic disorder get treatments at specialized clinics to help them as best they can. Pecoskie-Schweir says NUSU gets to talk about CF to the public at events like Shine Day to make people more aware of the disorder, the ongoing work to find a cure and how the NUSU is trying to help. As NUSU's vice-president of Advocacy and Awareness, Pecoskie-Schweir oversees Shine Day, but her work with CF research won't end when she graduates. It's her hope to become a campaign adviser so she can help other students organize and run Shinerama events at their respective universities. The NUSU Shinerama campaign runs from May to the end of January. The next Shinerama event is the NUSU bottle drive Saturday during the Labour Day long weekend to coincide with Orientation Week. That will be followed by a month-long campaign in October billed as Shinetober, which will involve Nipissing University students and possibly the faculty. Events include trivia nights, selling more Shinerama merchandise and perhaps doughnuts again. Students will also use Shinetober to raise awareness about CF and how it affects the person with the disorder as well as their families. COVID-19 may restrict what activities can be held. The goal is to raise $2,000 to $3,000 during Shinetober.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget