While the Williams family was enjoying a ball game their four-year-old daughter, Roberta, became critically ill and had to be airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. A diagnosis of congenital heart failure with severe complications changed the family’s life in an instant.
Sandra Williams stayed in Vancouver with her young daughter for months at a time. Roberta’s father stayed behind working and managing a household with three other children, while travelling to Vancouver whenever he could. The financial and emotional costs, during this time, were devastating to the Williams family.
Drawing from their own experiences, and after meeting other families in the same position from all over the province, the Williams family made a commitment to our community. They committed to the ideal that no family should be alone when faced with leaving their community for medical treatment of a child.
YANA (You Are Not Alone) was founded in 1986. This grass roots organization had its humble beginnings operating out of the Williams’ home and helping one family at a time. Sandra, her friends, and her family were determined to realize the vision of keeping families together during their most difficult times.
YANA now operates out of its office on Fitzgerald Avenue in Courtenay’s downtown core. We help children and pregnant mothers who reside in School District 71 and who need to travel outside our community for medical care. We provide accommodation and direct funding to help with expenses. To date, this unique non-profit organization has funded thousands of trips for medical treatment in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and other locations.
Our goal is to ensure our community can access the best medical care for their children and to keep Comox Valley families together during stressful times.
YANA’s core belief remains unchanged; when a child is ill the whole family needs care. The Comox Valley has shared that belief for 28 years and continues to support YANA and the families in our community who access our services.
Sandra Williams, founder of YANA, passed away in 2009. She left a legacy of giving, compassion, and caring that has become part of the Comox Valley culture. We are proud to continue her work to ensure you are not alone.