In pursuit of a dream: 11 reasons to give

Let’s wrap up Give a Day 2011 with 11 outstanding reasons to give. Follow these links to read on…

Reason #11 GIVE For the 34 million people living with HIV

HIV is treatable and preventable.  No one should die because of AIDS. Give a Day donations help work toward a world without AIDS.

Reason #10 GIVE As an expression of our united will

Dr Danyaal Raza describes the power of the combined voice of those who give.  It is about more than the money. Dr Raza reviews our need to speak up on the topic of HIV/AIDS “to effect lasting change at a time when the fight against HIV/AIDS is at a turning point.”

Reason #9 GIVE To eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015

11-year-old Nigerian Ebube Sylvia Taylor, writes “No child should be born with HIV; no child should be an orphan because of HIV; no child should die due to lack of access to treatment.” Through support of community-based responses to HIV, Give a Day donations will help realize this essential goal.

Reason #8 GIVE To promote awareness and decrease stigma associated with HIV

Give a Day is a learning organization. There is always more to learn about HIV. The more we learn, the less we can be confused and misled by stereotypes and stigma.  Learning together opens our minds to see life from new perspectives and can help us to care for one another more effectively.

Reason #7 GIVE Because millions need antiretroviral treatment NOW!

Dr Tim O’Shea describes his work in Uganda and describes the contrast between impressive progress in the distribution of life-saving ARV treatment and the remaining reality of millions who still lack treatment “largely for the lack of funds.”

Reason #6 GIVE To support innovative action-oriented HIV research

Smart research is one of the reasons community-based HIV programs become more effective every year to enhance treatment and prevention.

Reason #5 GIVE To light a fire

Give a Day is about even more than giving and learning.  A good education leads to action. William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet (and later politician), said “Education is not filling a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” We want to light a fire through Give a Day.  We want that fire to burn brightly, to show a vision of a new and better future for the people and places affected by HIV.

Reason #4 GIVE To demonstrate a spirit of solidarity

If you look through the Give a Day blog posts, you see people from many sectors of society who have joined in the effort.  Here are young lawyers in Ottawa showing that they care and challenging their peers to give generously.

Reason #3 GIVE To maintain hope for a better world

Hundreds of high school students became involved with the Give a Day campaign this year, through not-so-trivial contests, speeches, donation-drives and ribbons of hope.  Young people are inherently hopeful.  May their hopes be realized for a better and healthier world.

Reason #2 GIVE To work toward a world without AIDS

Dr Winnie Siu reminds us that “an AIDS-free world will one day be achieved through – and only through – the synergy of our collective contributions.”

Reason #1 GIVE Because life slips away

The number one reason we press on is because everyone deserves the opportunity for a long, healthy and meaningful life.

Today is the last day of 2011. Martha Nussbaum says “The pursuit of a dream requires dreamers: educated minds that can think critically about alternatives and imagine an ambitious goal.”  Our ambitious goal is a world without AIDS. If you have not already done so, please give one day’s pay today to make this dream come true.

St. Aloyisius Gonzaga Secondary School Goes Red for World AIDS Day

St. Aloysius Gonzaga school-wide ribbon of Hope. Photo by Andrew Motyliwski

Mary Schroder, teacher at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School writes…The school community of St. Aloysius Gonzaga celebrated AIDS Awareness week and World AIDS Day.

The week began with a school-wide video presentation on HIV/AIDS, and continued with daily reflections and cupcake sales in the cafeteria.

A guest speaker from “Give a Day to World AIDS”, Jacob Philpott, spoke to a packed theatre and inspired the students with his experiences in Uganda. The week culminated with a red ribbon campaign, where each classroom door was decorated with a huge red ribbon and AIDS reflection. Students and staff wore red on Dec. 1st and created a school-wide human ribbon of Hope.

Funds raised will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
It is my hope that one day all schools will participate in World AIDS Day and raise funds for an AIDS charity of their choice.

Winners of the GLINT Challenge – Stratford Northwestern Secondary School

Karen Congram, Teacher at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School writes…Northwestern students are honoured to be the first-ever winners of an international research competition. The GLINT Twitter Challenge took place on World AIDS Day, December 1st. GLINT is an online contest on the topic of HIV and the people and places most affected by HIV. Recognizing that 200 people in the world die each hour because of HIV, there were 200 questions sent through the @GLINTchallenge Twitter feed between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. Teams around the world race to send correct answers back over Twitter.

Students were nominated by teachers. The eight students chosen for the team were Ben Congram, Kenny Edwards, Sam Hall, Michelle Hicks, Jackie Laing, Amanda Pearson, Milos Tausan, and Erik Van Dijk. The three teacher coaches were Karen Congram, Morgan Kneider Patterson, and Sherry Mason, with Ms. Mason sending the tweets for the whole team.

The competition was fast, exciting, chaotic, stressful, and fun! Northwestern was the overall winner, and as such has the honour of donating $1,000 to an HIV-related charity. The team met to discuss the choice and unanimously decided the money will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The Stephen Lewis Foundation supports community-based organizations in African countries that have been deeply affected by the AIDS pandemic.

The GLINT Challenge is coordinated by the Give a Day campaign to raise awareness about World AIDS Day. The mission of the Give a Day campaign is to challenge each Canadian to give one day’s pay in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day Events at Stikeman Elliott LLP

Leaf Head by Andamiyo Chihota

Ashley Weber of Stikeman Elliott LLP writes… Today officially kicks-off the 2011 Stikeman Elliott Give a Day Campaign. Every year, Stikeman Elliott, along with a number of the other firms on Bay Street, participate in this grassroots movement to raise both awareness and much needed funds to support the global fight against AIDS.

This year, the SE Campaign is jam packed with a number of exciting events that are sure to spark your interest – including an engaging talk by Bruce Clark, the SVP Scientific and Regulatory Affairs of Apotex Inc., a long-standing firm client.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2011 EVENTS:

SPEAKER – 12pm-1pm:
• APOTEX: Bruce Clark will be speaking about Apotex’s long and arduous efforts to produce low-cost generic anti-retroviral drugs to combat the pandemic in Africa and other parts of the developing world. In particular, he will offer insight into the politics and backdoor negotiations that have taken place behind the scenes that have stymied efforts to successfully produce life-saving AIDS drugs under the Canadian Access to Medicines Regime, as well as offer solutions and opportunities for Canada to reengage in the debate on a global scale.

SILENT AUCTION – 12pm-2pm:
• PHOTOGRAPHY: Displayed all week in the 53rd floor boardroom corridor, world renowned photographer, Steve Simon, is showcasing his photographic exhibit depicting the heart of Africa – its people, its culture and its energy. All artwork will be available for purchase through silent auction, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Give a Day charities (Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International). Also available for purchase is Steve Simon’s book, displayed in the 53rd floor boardroom corridor.
• SHONA SCULPTURE: Zimbabwe artist Andamiyo Chijota’s stone sculpture, entitled “Leaf Head” is also on display in the 53rd floor boardroom corridor, and will be part of the silent auction. A portion of the proceeds will go the Give a Day charities.

BAZAAR – 12-2pm:
• AFRICAN BAZAAR: Grandmothers from the Stephen Lewis Foundation will be selling African crafts (jewellery, vases and other holiday gift ideas), a portion of the proceeds of which will go towards assisting grandmothers in Africa taking care of their grandchildren left orphaned by AIDS.

We encourage all at Stikeman Elliott to come out this Thursday December 1st, World AIDS Day, to eat, listen, purchase, and be merry as we kick-off the holiday season in support of Give a Day!

Because life slips away, would you give a day’s pay today?

“I shall do this, not because I am noble or unselfish, but because life slips away… Therefore I shall try to do what is right, and to speak what is true.” (Alan Paton, “Cry, the beloved country”)

Let’s start with the bottom line:  I believe it is right to care about HIV.

I’m not generally predisposed to bouts of melancholy. In fact I’m often accused of being inexplicably optimistic about most endeavours I undertake. But every year, in the closing days of November, as the Founder of Give a Day, I have to fight against a temptation to feel discouraged. Our teams work tirelessly throughout the year doing all that we can with our available resources to broadcast the story of HIV and the havoc it inflicts on the world. But as World AIDS Day approaches, I am fraught with regret that I have not been able to do enough.

This year, my distress is more pervasive than ever. AIDS activists around the globe are responding with shock, despair and anger over news of calamitous cuts to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Dr Adrienne Chan of Dignitas International writes “I have had a knot in my stomach since the announcement was made official regarding what this means for the 300,000 patients started on antiretroviral therapy in Malawi by the government.” Added to the frustration over the Global Fund cuts is the reality that charitable giving in general remains low among Canadians. Likewise Give a Day donations so far are considerably lower than they were at this time last year.

So why do we persevere with the Give a Day challenge?

We press on because everyone deserves the opportunity to live with health and dignity. We press on because 6.6 million people are now receiving treatment for HIV infection. Give a Day donations contribute to making that number grow. We press on because 1000 babies are born each day with HIV. Those infections can be prevented and treated. Give a Day donations support community organizations that do just that. We press on for countless other reasons, whether backed by statistics or simply pleas for social justice. But it all comes down to this. It is right to care about HIV. And Give a Day is a good way to show that we care.

I appeal to you today, World AIDS Day 2011, to continue the good work we are doing together. Would you please take the time to make a donation to support people and places affected by HIV?  Our recommended recipients are the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.

Life slips away. Would you please give a day’s pay today?