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Do you dare?


Small steps in the fight against AIDS in Africa

“My girlfriend dared me to walk for a week,” says Fernanda Faria, owner of Akau Framing on Queen West in Toronto. “That was too frightening. So I suggested I’d wear a dress for a day. If you know me, and how short and unfeminine I look, you know how big a dare that was.”

Faria’s unusual turn in a dress was inspired by A Dare to Remember, a fun and savvy way for the Stephen Lewis Foundation to get ordinary folk to raise money. More than 50 percent of the foundation’s revenue, which supports amazing grassroots AIDS initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, comes from individual donors and fundraisers. The premise is simple: Dare yourself — or others — to do anything. And they mean anything. The dares have ranged from ambitious — like Kristin Roe swimming the English Channel or Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle stitching together a huge fashion event like Dare to Wear Love — to the unimposing — like hosting a dinner party or cleaning out the garage. The trick is to get sponsors. This year’s A Dare to Remember campaign kicked off on Oct 17 and culminates on Word AIDS Day, Wed, Dec 1.

“I thought I’d try for $500 and ended with $1,500,” says Faria, discussing her individual effort last year. “It was really fun. But I won’t be wearing a dress again this decade.”

Stephen Lewis is the former United Nations’ special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He and his daughter Ilana Landsberg-Lewis set up the foundation in 2003.

For more info go to adaretorember.com.