Stigma – a mark of disgrace associated with a circumstance, quality or person. As a member of the cannabis industry, Indiva knows this term all too well. Likewise, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) is familiar with the fight against stigma as they aim to provide education and resources related to HIV/AIDS and/or Hep C-related stigma and discrimination. This month, Indiva will contribute to the work needed to help eliminate stigma by supporting RHAC’s Red Scarf Project movement as Gold Sponsors. The Red Scarf Project is a movement bringing the community together to raise real awareness and knowledge about the positive advances in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. “Like the red ribbon, every Red Scarf is a symbol of awareness and support,” says Zena Currie, Fund Development Coordinator. “Since 2012, volunteers have hand-crafted more than 7,000 red scarves to raise awareness, end stigma and improve the lives of those living with, affected by, and at risk for HIV/AIDS in our community. Having sponsors like Indiva participate in this campaign is integral to its success.” HIV/AIDS has long had a connection to the cannabis community. This medical condition was one of the first approved by Health Canada to be treated with cannabis. In fact, patients with HIV/AIDS were some of the of the first clients Pete served on his bicycle back in 1995. Now, Indiva staff will get involved by knitting red scarves, raising money, selling tickets and volunteering at the Red Scarf benefit-concert. In our first year of fundraising, Indiva will donate $2500 and our staff are working together to raise an additional $2500. “We recently launched our new business model, ‘we are for twenty’, this means 20 cents from every gram of flower or oil will go towards supporting mental and physical health initiatives and organizations in Canada,” says Courtney Morgan, Health and Community Engagement Leader. “RHAC is such a great organization to support. Their fulsome fundraising campaign aims not only to bring the community together by raising money but also raises awareness to the negative stigma people living with HIV/AIDS must live with on a regular basis and highlights the advancements taking place in the medical community.” On Oct. 25, Indiva team members all gathered together to show their spirit by learning how to knit or crochet our scarves to contribute to this initiative. Ontario Growers Supply and Plant Products have graciously supported this campaign by offering staff incentive prizes to those participating in fundraising for this initiative. Anyone interested in making a contribution to the Indiva Red Scarf Project team can visit the Red Scarf website. By giving to the Red Scarf project you are helping raise awareness and life-saving funds for people living with and at-risk for HIV/AIDS.
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