By Isabella Wright and Holly Atkinson
Students at The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto.
On April 15th, Branksome Hall hosted over 300 students from seven different schools across Toronto for Race for Dignity, and annual spin-a-thon that helps HIV+ teens start lifesaving treatment through Dignitas’ Teen Club program in Malawi.
Now in its seventh year, the collective team of organizers from each school had been looking forward to this event for months, and we were so excited that it had finally arrived. So, as the different teams walked in with their elaborate costumes and enthusiasm we felt our hard work paying off.
At the beginning of the event, a video played on the stage that described the challenges HIV+ teens face in Malawi and how Teen Club helps. From this video, the students, who had prepared and fundraised for weeks, gained a true understanding of where their money and effort was going. Just $60 allows one teen in Malawi to participate in Teen Club where they receive treatment and support, making ever penny raised worth it.
There was never a dull moment throughout the event, as team members took turns on the bike as the other members cheered them on. With a DJ, photo booth, Kahoot quiz, dozens of prizes and fun games to play off the bike, the event was a success. However, the most successful part was the $24,000 raised to benefit the Teen Club. This money can provide the opportunity for 400 teens diagnosed with HIV/AIDS to be part of a supportive community and receive the treatment/medication they require to stay healthy.
This event was truly inspiring for all the students who took part. Right after the event The Bishop Strachan School student Piper McGavin shared her opinion:
“Race for Dignity is such an awesome event because I get to have a great time with my friends and make a difference in another teen’s life at the same time.”
Through organizing and participating in Race for Dignity, we managed to take away an in-depth understanding of the amazing work Dignitas is doing, along with the realization that even as students, we can do so much to help teens in Malawi that are suffering from HIV/AIDS. We feel so lucky to have taken part in such an incredible event, and encourage everyone who has the opportunity to participate in Race for Dignity next year!