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about cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure.

Cystic fibrosis causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The degree of cystic fibrosis involvement differs from person to person. However, the persistence and ongoing infection in the lungs, with destruction of lungs and loss of lung function, eventually causes death in the majority of people who have cystic fibrosis.

Typical complications caused by cystic fibrosis are difficulty in digesting fats and proteins; vitamin deficiencies due to loss of pancreatic enzymes; and progressive loss of lung function.

It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis. Almost 4,100 Canadian children, adolescents, and adults with cystic fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics.

For more information about disease management, please visit Cystic Fibrosis' website.

why shine for cf

Shinerama is Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Over 35,000 student volunteers from 50 Canadian universities and colleges across the country come together every year to make a difference in the lives of those battling cystic fibrosis (CF). Student volunteers all over Canada are shining shoes, flipping burgers, washing cars and doing whatever it takes to raise crucial funding to fight cystic fibrosis. This national event puts the “fun” in fundraising!

Since 1964, Shinerama has raised approximately $26 million dollars for life-saving CF research and care. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all past and present Shiners. The support from Shinerama schools and students over the past 53 years has been instrumental to advancing the battle against this devastating disease.

As the event continues to gain momentum, so do our research efforts and the progress we’ve made in the search for a cure or control for CF. 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 52.1 years of age in 2015.

The fight against cystic fibrosis is far from over. Every week in Canada, two children are diagnosed and one person dies from this disease. Of the Canadians who died in 2014, half were under the age of 32.4 years. There is no cure.

We rely on the generous support of our volunteers, donors and partners in our shared mission to improve the lives of Canadians living with CF, and to ultimately find a cure or control for this devastating disease. Register, fundraise or donate to Shinerama today to help breathe life into the future of Canadians who are struggling to breathe every day.

shine stories

Shawn Tracey

Dalhousie University - shined 1996-2004

Like many people, I was first exposed to Shinerama during my Frosh Week. I had no idea what cystic fibrosis was and I had never heard of Shinerama, but it was my favourite event during my first week in university! I was fortunate enough to run Dalhousie’s campaign in 2000, and to go on to serve as Atlantic Regional Director and finally Shinerama National Chairperson. I love the organization, I love the people, and I am proud of the small part I played in supporting research to someday find a cure for cystic fibrosis. I have lifelong friends from my time shining, and they are some of the nicest, most decent people you would ever want to meet

Jon Bennici

University of Winnipeg - shined 2008-2010

I became involved in Shinerama by volunteering on the University of Winnipeg’s first ever Shinerama committee. My cousin passed away from cystic fibrosis so she was my inspiration to help out and join the fight. I was proud to help get Shinerama off the ground at the University of Winnipeg and I truly enjoyed participating in all of the fundraisers. Every “Shine Day” I make sure I take a walk downtown so I can have my shoes shined up and make a donation to their campaign.

Linda S

St Clare's School of Nursing - shined 1984

I became involved with Shinerama in1984 when I first shined shoes for St.Clare’s School of Nursing. I remember my first week of nursing school and orientation, and with this came participating in Shinerama.

I didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis, but I trusted we would learn something about the disease before going out in public to raise money. After all, I was a student nurse. I was very shy at the age of 17, and it was hard for me to imagine going out in public to shine shoes and ask people for donations. The week went by quickly, and before I knew it I was willingly hitting the streets to shine shoes.

To my amazement, something came over me as I started to collect money, which drove me to work harder to raise money for a disease I knew little about. At the end of the day, I was granted the title of top shiner, an accomplishment that lead me to be appointed Director of Shinerama the following year. For this position, I would go away to London, Ontario and learn more about Shinerama and how to run a successful campaign.

I remember Phil Wall calling me, wondering if I would like to join the local Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. I made many friends and I learned a lot about this dreadful disease. I was hooked, and needless to say, knowing this was a children’s disease played on my heart strings.

The following 11 years I volunteered with the Chapter and with each Shinerama my thirst to find a cure or control for cystic fibrosis grew. I became known to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, and I realized that there was more I could do for cystic fibrosis. I became the Atlantic Regional Director for Shinerama from 1995-1997, and Shinerama liaison and National Chair on the Cystic Fibrosis Canada board from 1997-1999.

I met many people while volunteering, but the most significant person I met was my husband Harold Sullivan, a Kinsman at the time, and we were both involved on the national Cystic Fibrosis Canada board. We both continued to be involved at the Chapter level as husband and wife.

As September rolls around each year, I see students volunteering for Shinerama, and I think back on my experience and where helping to find a cure for cystic fibrosis has led me in my life. Harold and I have always said that if we had not gotten involved in this cause, our lives would be completely different from what they are today.

key dates

05.19.17 - 05.22.17

National Shinerama Conference
The Shinerama Student leaders from across Canada will come together to plan and learn about Shinerama

the past keeps shining on!


Thank you! Your shine story has been submitted.

Welcome Shinerama current students and alumni! Your connection to Shinerama and the Canadian cystic fibrosis (CF) community doesn't have to end after graduation. It's time to ignite your Shine spirit by joining the Shinerama Alumni Network. This new alumni network, which is designed specifically for you, provides Shinerama current and past students the opportunity to:

  • Create network connections
  • Mentor and mentee opportunities
  • Participate in future alumni events and reunions
  • Share your Shine story to help capture Shinerama's rich 50 year history
  • Keep you abreast of Shinerama activities and share recent successes in the fight against cystic fibrosis

Shinerama alumni live and work everywhere. We would like to keep in touch with those graduates – and encourage them to keep in touch with each other – through the Shinerama Alumni Network. We're looking for alumni contacts that can help represent Shinerama and Cystic Fibrosis Canada in cities around the world and to help organize alumni gatherings.

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Alumni Information

Cystic Fibrosis Canada is extremely fortunate to have the support of Shinerama students, past and present, in the search for a cure or an effective control for CF. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of Canadians living with this disease. Visit Your Dollars at Work to learn more about the progress we’ve made in the fight against cystic fibrosis.

Feeling nostalgic? You can join Shinerama 2016 as an alumni by registering or donating to a campaign.

fundraising tools

By choosing to fundraise for Shinerama you are truly making a difference in the lives of Canadians with cystic fibrosis who struggle to breathe every day. We're here to help you reach and surpass your fundraising goal. Below, you'll find information to help get you started. Need help along the way? We're here for you. Please email and let us know how we can help. Thank you for supporting Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

join a team

Did you know participants who are part of a team raise twice as much.

add a photo

Adding a photo to your personal page is easy and helps you raise more money.

self donation

Make a personal donation yourself and kick start your fundraising goals.

shine guides

Download our fundraising guide PDF (coming soon!)