Lisa is participating in CF Canada’s Machu Picchu Walk. In this interview, she shares why she decided to fundraise in support of CF Canada.
What’s your involvement with CF Canada (are you a volunteer, donor, event organizer, participant etc.)?
I am an event participant.
What is your connection to CF?
My best friend Shana passed away from CF eight months ago, and her older sister had passed away from CF when Shana was just a teenager. Before I met her five years ago, I didn’t know anyone with CF or anything about it really. She educated me a lot, but even so I was very naive about how serious it could get quite quickly. Shana was the liveliest, funniest and loveliest person I knew, and we had so many fun plans for our future that the thought of her passing away anytime soon wasn’t even a consideration in my life. But then she became sick with a bad cold at the end of April, was hospitalized with a lung infection and passed away within a few weeks. Shana was the best kind of friend, and I am grateful for having met her, and I miss her very much.
What has been the greatest highlight of supporting CF Canada for you?
I didn’t know much about the fundraising events in place to find a cure for CF before Shana passed away, other than Shinerama and a donation bin at Sweet Janes, a local store here in Halifax. One time, I put my spare change in it when I was out shopping with Shana and it was MAYBE 35 cents. This became a joke between us, that that was all I had donated, and so when she was first hospitalized I was looking for something I could do to take my mind away from worrying. It happened to be May, and the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History was happening in a few weeks time, so I put together a team with our friends Elise and Andrew, and our friend Jess who flew over from Australia in the hopes of surprising Shana when she got out of the hospital. I was so excited for her to get out of the hospital so I could tell her I did MUCH better than 35 cents; we hoped to raise maybe a few hundred dollars for the walk. Within about three weeks during which time Shana passed away, we raised $4100 just from friends and family, many of whom had never even met Shana but knew how important she was to us. About a month later, I found out that I would be participating in the Machu Picchu trek this year in Shana’s honour and have so far raised an additional $4400 towards finding a cure, many of the donations from the same family and friends. It is insanely humbling and rewarding for me to be a part of raising over $8500 in the past eight months in Shana’s honour, and I know it will be something I will be involved with for the rest of my life.
What tips would you give to other fundraisers who are looking for inspiration to meet their goals?
I am not a natural fundraiser at all and find asking people to donate is really out of my comfort zone, but being able to speak (and write, on Instagram and Facebook posts) about how important Shana was to me, what kind of person she was and the impact her death has had on my life has really struck a chord with people and in turn people have been so kind with their donations. Even if they didn’t know Shana, they knew how much we loved each other from how we carried on on social media, and I think that hit close to home for anyone who has a best friend that they can’t imagine their life without. I also organized a Paint Nite, and the company donates $15 from every ticket sold to a charity of your choice, it was pretty effortless to organize and very helpful in helping me reach my goal.
Why do you think it’s important to support CF Canada?
It’s important to me because if I hadn’t met Shana, I would still be ignorant about the disease. Shana educated me so much about CF, and it’s important for me to support CF Canada so that someday, other people don’t have to lose someone as amazing as Shana was.
What will #aworldwithoutCF mean to you?
It’s too late for me, but a world without CF would mean that other people wouldn’t have to live their lives without their best friend or family member. Being able to plan for their future without having to worry about masks or medications or if they’ll be hospitalized with an infection or need a lung transplant would be amazing. Shana deserved a long, healthy and happy life, and I really, really hope that I am able to see a world without CF in my own lifetime, so that everyone with a friend as amazing as Shana can do all of the things they wished for and dreamed of without worry or apprehension.