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Canadians Take on Dares for AIDS in Africa.

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:02pm

* Article originally posted on The Stephen Lewis Foundation website here.

October 19, 2009

Stephen Lewis Foundation

- Canadians get wildly daring to help communities turn the tide of AIDS in Africa -

Toronto, October 19, 2009 – This week, Canadians coast-to-coast will do something daring as part of A Dare to Remember, a nationwide challenge to help communities turn the tide of AIDS in Africa. Launched by the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), A Dare to Remember invites Canadians to perform personal dares, set fundraising goals and encourage friends, family and colleagues to sponsor them. All proceeds will help support communities in the 15 African countries that have been hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.

Canadians are being asked to do their dare, declare their dare or dare someone else during Dare Week (October 17-25), and then complete their dares by World AIDS Day, December 1st.

Celebrities and citizens alike across the country are performing a wide range of memorable acts, such as:

Hip-hop artist k-os will return to his first job at The Bay’s Queen Street toy department in Toronto today and George Stroumboulopoulos will reveal his dare on CBC’s The Hour this week.

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, will busk in his riding at Danforth and Logan on Saturday, October 24 from 3-5pm.

• Calgarians will witness Olympic Gold Medal winner Duff Gibson walk 12 km on October 22 with a 20L jug of water on his head to honour the distances women and girls must travel every day to fetch water, firewood and access health care in Africa.

• In Vancouver next week, Simon Fraser University students will wear “I dare you to hug me” signs and give out hugs across campus and downtown streets, as one of many dares to raise funds.

• Montrealers will see McGill University students perform an “art attack” where participants will gather and form a human piece of art on the main campus lawn.

• In Charlottetown, the Katamavik youth group will perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance all over the city throughout the week.

• Staff at lululemon athletica in Banff will dare to do one thing a day that scares them. Dares include 100 consecutive sun salutations [that's me!], going vegan and working as a human mannequin in the store window.

“It’s remarkable to see the ingenuity and commitment people of all ages are showing across the country,” says Stephen Lewis, Chair of the SLF. “This isn’t just about doing something whimsical or novel, it’s about taking part in a national effort that will bring hope, life-saving services and critical support to thousands of individuals and communities across Africa. It’s about communities here standing in solidarity with communities thousands of miles away.”

To kick off Dare Week, Stephen Lewi s performed his dare on CBC’s The Hour and sang “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” with Hamilton rock band The Arkells.

Other supporters who have already started fundraising include actors Natalie Brown(Sophie ) and Amy Lalonde ( Wild Roses ) who are hosting a bake sale today at Toronto’s Union Station with fresh cookies made with honey they harvested during their dare to face their fear of bees. Romina D’Ugo (actress and top 20 finalist from last season’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada ), Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Jake Gold ( renowned artist manager and judge on CTV’s Canadian Idol ), Ngozi Paul (star of Global TV’s Gemini-nominated Da Kink in My Hair ) and Lorraine Segato (lead singer, Parachute Club) have all committed to fundraising and executing dares.

The official website ( adaretoremember.com ) offers the public 50 dare ideas and an opportunity to dare and sponsor their friends. Whether people choose to run a half-marathon, quit smoking, or take circus acrobatics lessons, the more daring the act, the more likely it will be to raise significant funds. Kristin Rowe, a woman in Nova Scotia plans to swim the English Channel in the spring!

On Friday, October 23, Hoax Couture and the Fashion Design Council of Canada will produce a fashion-forward closing night show featuring more than 25 of Canada’s top designers at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week beauty by L’Oreal. Kicking off at 9 p.m., a star-studded audience will experience the Dare to Wear Love show ( www.daretowearlove.com), full of rich, eye-catching fabrics sourced from African communities who work with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Designers include Lida Baday, Brian Bailey, Linda Lundström, Lucian Matis and many more. Dare to Wear Love organizers aim to raise $100,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Proceeds from all daring acts will be used by SLF to support community-based organizations in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. These grassroots groups provide counselling and education about HIV care, prevention and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach the sick through home-based health care; help orphans and vulnerable children access education and work through their grief; and support grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren.

For more information about A Dare to Remember, or to register a dare, visit www.adaretoremember.com

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