Big Canadian names accept dares for charity

Stephen Lewis Foundation invites people to dare or be dared to raise money for HIV/AIDS research

If double-dog dares were the bane of your childhood existence, it’s time to take them back – on your own terms. The Dare To Remember (DTR) campaign is an effort to raise funds for the issue of AIDS in Africa.

Many familiar names are taking part in the campaign, including George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC’s The Hour, who hopes to raise $3,000 by figure skating with Kurt Browning. Rapper K-OS has the same financial goal, but he will be working in a toy store. NDP leader Jack Layton played music on the street in his riding in Toronto on Oct. 24.

The campaign comes from the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), a non-profit organization focused on the countries in Africa hardest hit by AIDS.

“We work with 15 countries,” said Felicity Heyworth, SLF communications officer.

The money raised by the Stephen Lewis Foundation will go toward issues in Africa that are a result of the AIDS pandemic. These include providing counseling for women with AIDS, addressing the accessibility of medication and also looking at the issue of child-headed households – where children are forced to provide for their younger siblings in place of their parents.

The DTR offers suggestions of dares to take as well as featured dares to inspire. Some participants have goals to raise $500 through a variety of means – one person suggested holding a masquerade dinner. A self-proclaimed coffee fiend has vowed a five-day moratorium on coffee, and one participant has said they will perform a 24-hour-long stand-up comedy show.

Some have opted for group dares to relieve the personal pressure.

“There are some university campuses taking part,” said Susan Mazza, SLF community events liaison. Some participating student groups include ones from McGill University, Simon Fraser University and the Dalhousie University Women’s and Gender Studies Society which will do a sex-themed fund raiser with the Halifax Slam Poetry Team.

The foundation considers funding proposals for services helping AIDS victims and support workers. Priority funding goes toward campaigns for grandmothers caring for the grandchildren with parents sick or deceased from AIDS.

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Published in Volume 64, Number 14 of The Uniter (December 3, 2009)

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