YANA Ride in Comox raises thousands for families with medical needs

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record –Aug 19, 2019

Talia Ruttan and mom Kelsey (left) and Autumn Helme and mom Melissa get ready to hand out water bottles for YANA riders at the finish line. Photo by Mike Chouinard.

In its seventh year, the event attracted the maximum 600 riders

It’s got a new name, but it’s still raising money for families needing medical treatments.

The Comox Bike Company YANA (You Are Not Alone) Ride once again attracted a full slate of bike riders on Sunday, Aug. 18, with riders starting at different times based on different course lengths starting at Comox Marina Park.

“This is the seventh year for the ride as it exists,” says executive director Kelly Barnie says. “It used to be the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. The guys from the shop purchased the shop, and it is the Comox Bike Company YANA Ride now.”

The lengths were 100-km, 50-km and 25-km as well as a 6-km Family Ride, with generally a little over 125 on up to 200 riders for each route.

“We have 600 riders. That’s always our maximum,” says Barnie, adding the ride filled up a little over a week before the deadline this year.

RELATED STORY: YANA Ride set to roll in Comox

YANA raises money for Comox Valley families with children under 19 or with a pregnant mother needing to travel out of town for medical treatment.

“YANA paid for me to live in Victoria with my daughter for three months,” says mom Kelsey Ruttan. “They kind of saved our bacon. It enabled us to stay with her.”

Similarly, Melissa Helme has to take her daughter to go to Port Alberni for weekly medical visits.

“It helps get us there and back each week,” she says.

Both moms and their daughters, Talia Ruttan and Autumn Helme, were among the “ambassadors” greeting riders at the finish line in Comox Marina Park on Sunday.

Another new feature this year is the ambassadors hand out YANA Ride water bottles to the participants instead of medals, as in the past.

Both Ruttan and Helme say the YANA Ride and the support it receives are a sign of how much the Comox Valley gets behind the event.

“It just shows how much the community cares about people’s kids,” says Helme.

The official goal for YANA is $50,000, but the hope was to raise as much as $80,000. As of Tuesday, organizers came up with a final tally, and in the end, they did reach their goal of $80,000.

Last year, the ride raised about $70,000, and as of ride day this year the total was approaching that. Barnie said the ride’s importance is clear by summing up how much this fundraising means to the organization.

“That pays for about half the total expenses we give families,” she says.

“It’s a big, big part of our budget for families for the year.”

You don’t have to ride to support the Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Aug. 10, 2019

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Lisa Wilcox is getting ready to embark on her fourth Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride on Aug. 18, gearing up and training to undertake her biggest challenge yet: a 100 km scenic route around the Comox Valley.

The YANA Ride has become an annual community tradition for many families, and is an indispensable fundraising event for YANA, bringing in thousands of dollars each year to provide financial relief of travel and accommodation expenses for pregnant women and families whose children require medical support outside of the community.

Wilcox’s connection to YANA began over a decade ago when her newborn daughter needed care at BC Children’s Hospital. A social worker at the hospital mentioned the support she could receive through YANA, and Wilcox was moved by the generosity of the organization and her community.

Wilcox was able to rely on family support during their stay, but just knowing the option was available brought her peace of mind during a difficult time.

“It was such a relief to know that if I did need something, I could go back and ask them for help.”

CVRD Area B director Arzeena Hamir is a longtime friend of Wilcox. The two met one another through a food subscription program run by Hamir’s family-run business, Amara Farm. It was a simple Facebook post made by Wilcox seeking pledges for this year’s ride that led Hamir to get behind a dear friend and an important cause.

“Being a farmer, the timing of the ride just doesn’t work for us, so I’m super happy to support people who take on the challenge. She’s riding on my behalf too. She’s been so supportive of me and the farm, it’s a way to give back.”

Wilcox was one of the top five fundraisers for last year’s event, and said she did little more than ask for pledges on Facebook and email a few colleagues, noting that it doesn’t take much to rally support for a cause that the community truly values. And, fundraising has its perks: riders who raise $50 will receive an exclusive YANA Ride hat, and for every $100 raised will be entered in a draw to win two return tickets for travel to any Air Canada scheduled destination in North America. This year, a generous donor has stepped up. All pledges made between Aug. 1-15 will be matched up to $5,000. Pledges can be made by going to yanacomoxvalley.com and clicking the blue “Register – Pledge – More Info” button. When donors tag the rider they sponsored on YANA’s Facebook post, their donation will be doubled.

The opportunity to participate and donate carries on after the ride is done with a ‘Party at the Park’ at Marina Park. The whole community is invited to join in celebrating riders at the finish line, and can support YANA by donating on site, entering the 50/50 draws, enjoying the beer garden, or purchasing a T-shirt, hat, socks or other unique YANA gear at the merchandise tent. There will be live entertainment throughout the day and a Little Wheelers event for the youngest of riders. There’s something for everyone, and you’re guaranteed to see a familiar face.

“Reach out to a rider that you know and support them,” said Hamir. “Not all of us can be on the ride, so here’s your chance to now participate in supporting an organization that is so critical to the values and the fabric of the Comox Valley.”

The YANA Ride takes place Sunday, Aug. 18. For more information, to donate, or to register for the ride, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com

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Anonymous donor to match pledges made to YANA Ride participants from Aug 1-15

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Aug. 1, 2019

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The Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride is one of the biggest fundraising events of the year for YANA. The need for YANA travel and accommodation funding continues to increase, with YANA providing support for more than 500 medical trips for Comox Valley families each year.

Thanks to an anonymous donor who has stepped up to support this fundraiser in a big way, for the first time ever, your donations to riders participating in the event will go twice as far.

Between 9 a.m. Aug. 1 and 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15, make a pledge to a rider and tag them on YANA’s Facebook Post, and your donation will be matched by an incredibly generous YANA champion, up to $5,000!

The Comox Bike Company YANA Ride, taking place Aug. 18, is a fun and challenging ride through the beautiful Comox Valley. There is a 25-km, 50-km and a 100-km loop as well as a 6-km family route that allows riders of all ages to cycle together.

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Super prizes for Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride Fundraising!

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Ivan Lee of TD Wealth is a proud sponsor of the all-new YANA Ride snap-back hats.

2018 Air Canada Foundation airfare prize winner Peter Donkers.

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YANA’s Comox Bike Co. Annual Ride is one of their biggest fundraising events of the year, with proceeds directed toward the accommodation and travel funding programs YANA provides for Comox Valley families.

With an ever-growing need for support comes their biggest fundraising goal yet.

With the amazing help of the community, YANA hopes to raise at least $80,000 at this year’s Ride event. If that goal is reached, about half of the travel funding required for families would be covered in the year ahead.

YANA is offering some great prizes and a brand new incentive for riders to gather pledges and donations to help reach this goal:

**Riders who raise at least $50 will earn an exclusive YANA Ride hat compliments of event sponsor Ivan Lee of TD Wealth. 

**For every $100 raised, riders will earn an entry to win two return tickets for travel to any Air Canada scheduled destination in North America. The tickets are valued at over $2400 and the chances of winning are fantastic!

**Every registered rider has a chance to win a draw prize.

The Comox Bike Company YANA Ride is a fun and challenging ride through the beautiful Comox Valley on Sunday, Aug. 18.

For more information, to register, or to donate to a rider:REGISTER – PLEDGE – MORE INFO

YANA Ride set to roll in Comox

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – June 8, 2019

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With a plan for an even bigger post-ride party, the annual Comox Bike Company YANA Ride is set to roll this summer.

Kelly Barnie, executive director of YANA (You Are Not Alone) said the event, which started in 2013, is set for Aug. 18 at Comox Marina Park.

The newly branded Comox Bike Company – formerly known as Simon’s Cycles – is jumping on board with its longstanding partnership of the event, which serves to be one of YANA’s biggest fundraising events of the year.

“We’re excited to continue this collaborative event with YANA for sure,” said co-owner Craig Harris. “It’s a cause we believe in and a contribution to the community that we’re so happy to be a part of.”

Riders in the event will take their pick from a variety of scenic routes which include a 25 km, 50 km and a 100 km loop. There will also be a six km family route that allows riders of all ages and abilities to ride together. The post-ride party will be held at Marina Park where participants can celebrate their achievements and enjoy lunch, live entertainment, draw prizes and discounts at Comox Bike Co. for all riders and volunteers.

Barnie explained the ride caps at 600 riders with registration “pretty well spaced out” between the various event lengths.

“It’s so cool to watch the riders coming back into the park, seeing their supporters cheering them on, and celebrating their success and support for YANA,” she added.

“The whole community comes together to sponsor these riders, and we’re looking forward to the party in the park congratulating them when they finish their ride.”

Last year, 600 cyclists, 175 volunteers and 63 sponsors raised $70,000 in support of Comox Valley families whose children required medical care away from their home community. All proceeds from this event with benefit You Are Not Alone (YANA).

YANA helped 161 local families in 2018, funded almost 500 medical trips, provided over $140,000 in financial assistance and offered homes away from home in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

For more information and to register for the Comox Bike Company YANA Ride, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/yana-event/ride/.

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