What happened when 600 students from nine Toronto high schools came together at this year’s Race for Dignity? They generated passion, awareness and over $55,000 – setting a new fundraising record for the 5th annual inter-school spin-a-thon. The funds raised at this year’s event will support Dignitas International and it’s groundbreaking work in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Hosted by Upper Canada College at the end of March, visiting students from Bishop Strachan School, Branksome Hall, Greenwood College School, Havergal College, Royal St. George’s College, The York School, Vaughan Road Academy and Weston Collegiate Institute joined efforts in the spirit of fun and fitness. This year’s Race for Dignity was an excellent example of student leadership in action. On the day of the event, the school’s gymnasium was overtaken by hundreds of bikes and enthusiastic teens decked out in creative and colourful costumes. Even the school mascots and principals couldn’t resist joining in this high-energy challenge. To participate, students were challenged to spin on stationary bikes along with teammates and raise $75 each in pledges. Anne Connelly, Director of Fundraising and Marketing for Dignitas International, was in attendance to help to kick off the event:
“These students are living proof that Canadian youth can inspire change and make a difference, both locally and globally. Thanks to their efforts, Dignitas can provide treatment and care for 275 HIV+ pregnant and breastfeeding women, keeping mothers healthy and their babies HIV-free,” said Anne.
The Race for Dignity program is a student-led grassroots campaign for Dignitas International. Since 2004, Dignitas Youth high school and university chapters across Canada have raised more than $475,000 in support of lifesaving treatment and care for people living with HIV in Africa.
“Spinning for a better tomorrow, this year’s Race for Dignity inter-school event was an important opportunity for our students to work together with each other and other schools in an effort to help combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We continue to be extremely proud to be part of such an important consciousness and fundraising co-curricular event,” said Laurie Kuchirka, a Branksome Hall teacher who helped organize the event.
In 2014, Dignitas celebrates its 10th year in transforming patient health and health care systems. To date, we’ve helped nearly 200,000 people start lifesaving HIV treatment and care. A big thank you to all of the students, teachers, parents and supporters who made the 2014 Race for Dignity such a tremendous success – your determined commitment is helping us achieve an AIDS-free generation in Malawi.