YANA is generously upheld by the spirit and kindness of the Comox Valley. Check out what is going on and learn about amazing supportive efforts taking place within our community. We respect the privacy of our individual donors, as such this is a sampling of donations where public acknowledgement is appropriate.

Sending profound gratitude to Georgia E. Hunt, for leaving YANA a legacy donation.   Her gift will make a lasting difference to Comox Valley families now and in the future.  We feel humbled and honored that she would choose to bequeath a portion of her estate to us and entrust us with it.  Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

YANA rolls out plans for 2021 virtual Big Love Gala

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Published in the Comox Valley Record December 22, 2020

It’s the year of reinvention for the way we collectively do things, from family gatherings to classes and workshops, and especially any kind of large-gathering events, coming together looks a little different right now.

For a charity like YANA (You Are Not Alone), gathering together has been an integral piece of their community support building and fundraising, especially at events like their annual sell-out gala, The Big Love Benefit, YANA’s largest campaign event of the year which generates almost 40% of the funds needed for their funding and accommodation programs.

Last year’s event was a smashing success, raising $166,000 through ticket sales, donations, draws and auctions. Two weeks later the world shut down and it became clear that the 2021 Big Love gala would not likely take shape in its usual form. Kelly Barnie, YANA’s executive director, spoke to this unfolding reality and the implications it could have on YANA’s ability to continue supporting Comox Valley families.

“Not holding our largest fundraising event of the year would likely put YANA in the position of having to say ‘no’ to families, or to be unable to support at the level we typically do. As always, our amazing volunteer committee stepped up in unanimous agreement that there was no way we could let that happen. They were committed as ever to finding a way to move forward with as many of the components of the annual gala fundraiser as possible, in a safe, flexible way that allows for maximum individual choice about how to join in the magic experience that is the Big Love Benefit.”

After many minds spent many hours back at the drawing board to re-invent this event in COVID-friendly fashion, YANA has rolled out their plans for this years’ gala event. It’s set to be better than ever, opening up even greater possibilities for supporters from all over to join the cause and witness the love and generosity that is shown each year.

“In some ways, COVID is forcing us to solve the problems we’ve always had and never come up with a way to overcome,” says Barnie. “When you sell out an event in 3 seconds, there are countless YANA supporters that want to get on board, but can’t. It’s opened up the event far and wide for anyone to help YANA. April 1, 2021 marks YANA’s 35 year anniversary. There are 3 and a half decades of YANA families and their circle of supporters out there. You can’t fit that many people in a room together, but you can have them join a live broadcast together, experiencing it as one, in different locations across the Valley and beyond.”

The event itself, as well as the auctioning of generously donated items, will all be done virtually. Event attendees will be able to view the live virtual program and bid in the online auction in one of 3 ways: attending one of eight Champion Sponsor-hosted restaurants in their Safe Six group, attending one of twenty Supporter Sponsor-hosted Safe Six home parties, or by making a donation to receive a link so they can enjoy the virtual event and participate in the silent and live auctions from the comfort of their own home.

Kelly Rusk, YANA’s board committee president, points to the bright silver lining in all of this.

“The online event platform we’re using allows everyone to experience the energy, stories, presentations and celebrations from any location. It even has video and chat interaction features so we can virtually connect between venues! We know it’s not the same as being able to hug and visit and laugh with 300+ people, but virtually speaking, we’re hoping this is the next closest thing.”

Every ticket purchased, every auction bid, every big and small donation helps toward this important fundraiser, and especially so thanks to generous sponsors who cover the costs of the event so that 100% of the money raised goes directly to YANA’s travel funding and accommodation programs for families. Long term sponsor Brian McLean Chevrolet Buick GMC is helping every dollar donated make an even bigger impact this year. Every time someone makes a donation to receive the link to the live event broadcast and auction, the dealership will match the donation, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000.

The online auction opens February 16th and runs until the night of the gala on February 26th. Restaurant venue tickets, and “link by donation” tickets will be available at starting January 17th at 10am sharp. YANA supporters everywhere are encouraged to join in no matter how much you have to give, no matter where you’re giving from.

“More than ever, this year, we want everyone to be in a position to experience the love that surrounds this event. Whether you can donate a little or a lot, we want you to share in the magic that is Big Love. We’re all hoping that 2021 brings much more positive to our world, and we’re excited to start the year with something like this. It’s been a major undertaking for our staff and volunteers to toss the script and start from the beginning, and we hope that the community will come together to rally behind YANA families like never before.”

See for event information.

If you’ve got it, Haunt it!  And the Haunted Hall of Horrors, created by the Wiseman Family, has been spooking residents for many years, with their creative graveyard, ghouls and other creepies.  They’ve been donating their proceeds to YANA for many years and we are always so grateful for their annual Spooktacular Support!

We’d like to acknowledge the amazing generosity of some local and not-so-local people… Taiga Building Products is a national company who believes that giving back to the community in which their employees live is a responsibility. They donate annually to many charities that get nominated by their employees and customers.  We’re incredibly grateful that Allan, at Central Builders-Home Hardware, nominated YANA to be one of the recipients of Taiga Building Products’ charitable donations.   Enormous thanks to Allan, Central Builders and Taiga Building Products!! 

There are many angels living in this Valley and today we’d like to say thank you to the ones belonging to St. Michael & All Angels Protestant Chapel.  Their continuing support of YANA through their annual donations are so meaningful to us.  We’re very grateful for you!

Thank you, Victorine, for your recent personal donation to YANA.  Your gift will enable us to help fund Comox Valley families who need to travel for the medical treatment of a child or pregnant mother.  We appreciate you!

Becky has been taking Dr. Henry’s advice to wear masks during COVID to heart.  She’s made hundreds of high quality, cute masks that she sells by donation to YANA.  Thank you Becky for choosing YANA to be the recipient of your hard work and generosity!

These are hard times for so many families.  Yet, some people are even more generous when things get tough.  Louise S is one of those inspirational, shining lights!  During the pandemic, Louise worked so much overtime that she had extra money to share.  From her hard-earned money, she decided to give a financial gift to YANA.  I don’t know about you, but I need a tissue!   From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Louise !

We may be closing in on winter, but we’re feeling blissful “States of Summer”, thanks to the generosity of this local business.  For 1 week in October, they donated $5 from every sale to YANA.  We appreciate you!

Thanks to the kids at Highland Secondary Interact Club,  the future looks bright!  We received a thoughtful donation from these amazing students with a simple note, “With Love”.   Awwww!  Sending gratitude to these fabulous kids and their equally fabulous teachers!