Would You Give a Day to Save a Life?

Today’s Globe and Mail features an interview with Give a Day founder, Dr. Jane Philpott. Our thanks to author Farah Mohamed for highlighting the way a simple idea can light a fire when we join together.

You can read the entire article here, but I’ll leave you with a little taste!

When asked who her heroes were, Jane responded: “In great stories of human progress, we often focus on the great leaders of these important moments in history, but we forget that behind every great name, there are usually thousands of children, women and men who have laboured to make progress possible. Their faces are unknown, their stories are untold, their voices are unheard. But they are my heroes.”

“We need the best of many – not of just a few… We must strive for excellence.”

Stephen Lewis, Jane Philpott, James Fraser

This morning Stephen Lewis was the keynote speaker at our Hot Talks event.  After his powerful address, I asked the audience to do 3 things: donate, educate, activate.

The 1st goal – to donate – is the most measurable and perhaps the simplest step to take. The results are priceless. Clearly one of the essential aims of the campaign is to raise money for great recipient organizations – the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.

A 2nd goal of Give a Day (GAD) is to educate or “raise awareness” about HIV in the world. And this actually thrills me as much as our fund-raising success.  We keep people talking about important global social issues related to the theme of HIV. Give a Day educates us. And education is so critical – it’s what GK Chesterton calls the “soul of a society”.

Beyond GAD’s challenge to donate & educate is a 3rd goal – to activate. I hope GAD will inspire you to do even more than giving and learning.  A good education leads inevitably to action. Wm Butler Yeats, the Irish poet (and later politician), said “Education is not filling a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I want to light a fire with this campaign.  And I’d like that fire to burn brightly, to show a vision of a new and better future for the people and places affected by HIV.

48 years ago today, I was a toddler living in snowy Winnipeg Manitoba. On this day 48 years ago, my mother was in our Winnipeg kitchen making a 3-year-old birthday cake for me. Her work was interrupted when she heard on the television that President John F Kennedy had been shot. For our society, it remains one of the most memorable days in modern history. A great man and incomparable leader had his life brutally cut short.  I think about the Kennedy family each year on November 22. I wish I had known the parents of John F Kennedy.  I often wonder: what were the ingredients that inspired the Kennedy siblings to be such leaders – lights and fires – for their generation? But they did more than just lead themselves; they called on others to take up the tasks of the day.  Less than four weeks after President Kennedy was shot, his brother Bobby wrote a new Foreword for a memorial edition of John’s book “Profiles in Courage”. The words written by Bobby Kennedy 48 years ago are relevant to our task today:

“The energies and talents of all of us are needed to meet the challenges – the internal ones of our cities, our farms, ourselves – to be successful in the fight for freedom around the globe, in the battles against illiteracy, hunger and disease.  Pleasantries, self-sustained mediocrity will serve us badly. We need the best of many – not of just a few. We must strive for excellence.”

I like to emphasize this point after Stephen Lewis speaks because his matchless speaking skills can be a little intimidating. Even in a confident crowd, many of us may feel inadequate and ill-equipped in comparison.  But it takes more than the actions of Stephen Lewis to combat the forces that propagate the AIDS pandemic. What did Bobby Kennedy say? We need the best of many – not of just of few. We must all strive for excellence. Strive is an action verb. To strive means to put your whole & considerable force behind this effort.

I hope you are already quite convinced that we should do our part to address the realities of HIV in the world. If so, you are not alone. Let us donate. Let us educate. And let us activate all the resources within our reach to strive together toward a world without AIDS.

GLINT – A Marathon of the Mind

Dr. Jane Philpott, Founder of Give a Day writes…Time to get going on a new idea to keep attention on HIV in the world – with the ultimate goal of a world without AIDS!

Been thinking about how everyone loves a challenge. Many health-related foundations gather great energy and support from runs, walks, bike-a-thons – you name it!

Since I’m not remotely an athlete myself, yet forever seeking ways to expand the Give a Day campaign, I thought we should develop a Marathon of the Mind.

Another inspiration for this plan comes from the fact that I am now a confirmed Twitter addict. Happy to have finally clued in to this great tool for connecting with creative & inspiring people all over the world.

So, the ingredients of this Marathon of the Mind will be:
– Raising awareness about HIV in the world
– Inspiring more people to give a day’s pay
– Takes place on World AIDS Day, December 1
– Happens Live on Twitter
– Includes people from around the world
– Educates about HIV and the places most affected by HIV
– Kind of like a trivia contest but HIV is not a trivial (trifling, unimportant) matter, so this will be a “not-so trivial” challenge

With great anticipation, may I introduce you to GLINT!

The GLINT challenge is the
Give a Day
Trivial challenge.

Many more detail to follow. But for now, start putting together a GLINT team from your workplace, community, family or friends. Set aside one hour. On December 1 at 12 noon EST, the world will gather for GLINT. We will Connect, Collaborate & Contribute toward a world without AIDS!

A Night of Music for Give a Day

Come join us for a great night of music in support of Give a Day to World AIDS! On Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 pm, James Miller and his band will be holding a Harambee at Nineteen on the Park in Stouffville. James has traveled around the world to over three dozen countries and this can be heard in his music with his blend of traditional folk and roots influences, and elements of world music, creating an inspiring and uplifting sound. Tickets are available through the box office or by calling 905-640-2322. Give a Day founder, Dr. Jane Philpott, will be on hand to talk about the Give a Day Campaign and the work of Dignitas International and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We hope to see you there!

Stouffville Makes Beautiful Music for Give a Day

The Stouffville Harambee, a benefit concert with the Rouge River Connection and Albert Street Four held at 19 on the Park on Nov 25th, raised over $6,300 for Give a Day to World AIDS and their partner organizations.  

 Dr. Jane Philpott, founder of the Give a Day movement, says, “What an incredible result this is. What a generous and compassionate community we have here in Stouffville.”
Rouge River Connection

Rouge River Connection

She expressed gratitude to the musicians and volunteers and commented that, “Even without the donations it was a very important evening for raising awareness and growing our sense of global solidarity.  And with these donations we can see the solidarity translated into real impact to give people longer and healthier lives.” 
Robina Ssentongo, a visitor from Uganda, spoke at the concert about her community-based organization that is serving the AIDS orphans and the grandmothers burdened with the care of many children – work funded by the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Robina Ssentongo and Dr. Jane Philpott

Robina Ssentongo from Kitovu Mobile in Uganda and Dr. Jane Philpott, Give a Day Founder