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Local students 'shine' a light on disease that 'hits close to home'

Annual Shinerama sees Georgian College students fan out across Orillia to raise money, awareness
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A charitable tradition for Georgian College continued Wednesday as students took part in the annual Shinerama in Orillia.

Students headed to multiple locations in the city to wash vehicles in return for donations, with all of the money raised going to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Carol-Lynn Comtois, a police foundations student, was going back and forth between Home Hardware, where she was raising awareness and money, and the Canadian Tire Gas Bar, where she and fellow students were putting the shine on vehicles.

It was Comtois’s first time taking part in Shinerama, and she did so with loved ones in mind.

“I know some people who have had cystic fibrosis. It’s a really bad disease and they need support,” she said.

Many of those Comtois spoke with Wednesday shared their connections to the cause, too.

“A lot of people tell us their family members have it. One person said they had a cousin who passed away from it,” she said. “It hits close to home for a lot of people.”

What is cystic fibrosis?

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

CF causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The degree of CF severity differs from person to person. However, the persistence and ongoing infection in the lungs, with destruction of lungs and loss of lung function, will eventually lead to death in the majority of people with CF.

Typical complications caused by cystic fibrosis:

  • Difficulty digesting fats and proteins

  • Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies because of inability to absorb nutrients

  • Progressive lung damage from chronic infections and aberrant inflammation

  • CF-related diabetes

  • Sinus infections

It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF. More than 4,300 Canadian children, adolescents, and adults with cystic fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics.

Source: Cystic Fibrosis Canada




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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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