General News

The early bird gets the… coolest shirt ever and so much more.

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There are so many reasons to register early:

  1. Complimentary souvenir t-shirt courtesy of top sponsor, Dr. Andreas Conradi. Register before July 21.
  2. Invitation to participate in fun pre-event activities including a bike mechanics workshop on June 22, bike security registration session on June 24 and a training ride on July 15.
  3. Early registration ensures you have the opportunity to participate. The ride registration site will be open until August 18 or until such time as 600 cyclists have registered. No registration will be accepted on ride day.
  4. Time to fundraise so that you can be entered into the draw to win two return tickets for travel to any Air Canada scheduled destination in North America including Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and select sun destinations, a prized valued at $2,800. For each $100 raised, riders are entered to win!
  5. The satisfaction of ticking it off your to-do list! Good for your health, good for the community!

For more information about all of these opportunities or to register, click here.

Registration open for Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on August 20, 2017

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Spring is here, it’s time to dust off your bike and get back on it!  Register early and receive a free souvenir shirt courtesy of Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride sponsor, Dr. Conradi. Join us!

Click here to register or for more information.

The Circle of Giving

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On August 7, 2008, Arlene Juby received a phone call from her daughter asking her to come immediately to the hospital in Victoria. Her daughter and her granddaughter were travelling back from a trip to the mainland, via Victoria, and though Arlene did not know why she was needed so urgently, she sensed the seriousness of the situation instantly.

That same evening Arlene’s granddaughter, Ruby, was air-lifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with a diagnosis of leukemia.

“She was six years, two months, and two weeks old,” Arlene recalls, remembering feeling numb. That night she wrote in a journal, something she hadn’t done before. “This is something that happens to other people, not us,” she composed, “but it has happened.”

There would be many more nights for Ruby, for Arlene, and for their family. Almost a year at Children’s Hospital and a stem cell transplant would follow.

“YANA played a significant role during that time,” says Arlene. “The YANA apartment on Oak Street had everything that was needed and the financial part was a big help. YANA kept our family together.”
After returning to the Comox Valley, Ruby continued with regular check-ups at Children’s Hospital, first every two weeks and then every few months. In November 2012, after a routine blood test, Ruby was re-admitted to Children’s, the leukemia had returned.

“She was ten years, five months, and twenty-nine days old,” says Arlene. “And we were back at square one,” explains Arlene. “Again, YANA was there. I don’t think there is anything like YANA anywhere else, it seemed sent from heaven that it was available to us, it meant everything.”

Shortly after Ruby finished her second phase of long-term treatment, Arlene made a significant donation to YANA. “I had decided that when I could help, I would. YANA was at the top of my list.”

Since then Arlene has been a monthly donor, supporting YANA through Canada Helps, an on-line giving platform for non-profits.

“Arlene’s story reminds us of the close connection many of our donors have to the children and families we support,” says YANA Executive Director, Marcie Dumais. “We are grateful to be part of this circle of giving that ensures we are able to help when it’s needed.”

Arlene shares with relief that her granddaughter is a healthy teenager. “I can’t adequately express what YANA means to me, even after so much time has passed. It will be with me until the day I’m gone.”

To donate click here.

~ Originally published April 27, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record

A Comox Valley Love Letter

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From the outside, it’s just a white, sealed envelope with YANA’s address stamped on the top left.

If you have ever received one from St. Joseph’s staff or given one to a patient, you know that inside these envelopes offer support when it is most needed and represent something very unique and special about the Comox Valley.

“The relief that parents feel when I hand over a YANA emergency funding envelope is palpable,” explains Kelly Phillips, Clinical Coordinator of the Maternal Child Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The enclosed cash and letter provide reassurance for parents in time of incredible stress and uncertainty.”

YANA’s emergency funding is offered to Comox Valley families when a child or pregnant mother needs to be transferred directly from St. Joseph’s Hospital to a medical facility outside the region. The program is administered by frontline hospital staff. More often than not, emergency transfers are unexpected and cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for families concerned for their loved ones.

“Parents are scared, being able to offer them something to show them that they are not alone means a lot,” says Phillips.

Marcie Dumais, Executive Director at YANA, remembers a mother telling her that she climbed into the helicopter wearing a robe and slippers, completely shocked about what was ahead but determined to stay right at her child’s side.

Linden’s emergency trip to BC Children’s Hospital in 2012 just before her leukemia diagnosis. Linden is a happy, healthy 8-year-old five years later.

“It is important that we offer some cash as a small cushion to get families through the immediate situation and that we encourage them to connect with us for further funding and accommodation,” says Dumais. “Many of these emergencies result in long periods of time away from home so the invitation to connect ensures families have the support they need.”

Last year, YANA assisted with 46 emergency transfers involving children. The YANA Board of Directors recently doubled the cash gift, a decision that was possible because of tremendous community support.

“The Comox Valley cares about its people. Our emergency funding program is an excellent example of our compassion for one another. We feel privileged to connect families with their loving community,” says Dumais.

To donate click here.

~ Originally published  April 20, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record

Home Sweet Home

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A special part of YANA’s service to local families is the apartments. Located on Oak Street within walking distance of Children’s Hospital, these four one-bedroom units are a home away from home for Comox Valley families. The apartments offer a place for families to be together, a place to retreat, prepare meals and to heal.

The apartments have a special volunteer named Jayne, also known as “the apartment angel.” A long-time Vancouver resident and recent retiree, Jayne recalls receiving a call from her daughter who lives in the Comox Valley.

“My daughter asked if I would be interested in volunteering with an organization that assisted families who needed to be in Vancouver for the medical care of a child,” remembers Jayne. “After meeting YANA representatives and seeing the apartments I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Families who arrive in Vancouver by emergency transfer will often meet Jayne when she brings them the keys to the apartment. She helps with all things apartments; checking them between clients, making sure they are clean, ensuring linens are folded and easy to find, taking inventory, restocking necessities, and giving them lots of love.

“The families that use the apartments are under stress and I want to make everything as easy as possible for them,” says Jayne. “I want the apartments to be a welcoming place and to feel like a home.”

Complications around her twin pregnancy forced Kate Ashton and her family to Vancouver three months before her due date. Having only recently relocated to the Comox Valley, without nearby family support, and faced with a very serious condition was incredibly overwhelming, still Ashton says that, “remaining optimistic felt like the only choice.” “The YANA apartment offered my husband and I and our 21-month-old son a normal life while waiting for the birth of our girls,” recalls Ashton.

The twins, Lucy and Abilgail, were born small but healthy much to the relief of their family. The Ashtons continued at the apartments, waiting for the girls to be strong enough to leave the hospital. Abigail’s first night ‘home’ was spent at the YANA apartment. A few days later Lucy was released and the Ashtons were able to return to the Comox Valley.

“Regardless of how long they are here or for what reason,” says Jayne, “the families that stay in the apartments have the common experience of needing to care for a sick child. I feel blessed to be able to help in easing some of that stress.”

To donate click here.

~ Originally published on April 13, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record

Legacy of Caring

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Thirty years ago, a little girl named 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 her family’s life in an instant.

Roberta’s mother, Sandra Williams, stayed in Vancouver with her young daughter for months at a time. Roberta’s father stayed behind in the Comox Valley 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 promise to our community. They committed to the ideal that no family should be alone when faced with having to leave their community for the 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 an office on Rosewall Crescent in Courtenay. We help children and pregnant mothers residing in School District 71 who need to travel outside our community for medical care. We provide accommodation and funding to help with expenses. To date, YANA has funded thousands of trips for medical care in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and other locations. Last year YANA helped 141 local children, providing over $84,000 in financial assistance and covering $89,000 of accommodation expenses. Our courageous clients and their brave parents face many challenges and, in some cases, incredible heartache. YANA’s goal is to ease some of the burden. Our core belief remains unchanged since our inception; when a child is ill the whole family needs care. The Comox Valley has shared this belief for 30 years.

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 and to offer local families the love and support of their community.

To donate click here.

~ Originally published April 6, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record

Let Them Eat Pi

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Twelve year old, Jack Boan likes Pi.

In numeric form Pi represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to diameter. Pi is an irrational number that never ends. For math enthusiasts ‘Pi Day’ is celebrated each year on March 14 or 3.14, the first digits of Pi.

“Each year since first grade I have been trying to remember as many digits of Pi as possible,” explains Boan. “I challenge my classmates to do the same.”

Last year Boan memorized 605 digits and raised $561.00 for YANA (You Are Not Alone).Born 2 months premature himself and having spent weeks in hospital as an infant, Boan and his family have an appreciation for the support YANA offer families who need to leave the Comox Valley for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother. “We know families in the community that YANA has helped,” says Boan. “It means a lot to the Comox Valley, it’s a great cause.”

This year Boan’s grade seven class at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary is joining in his fundraising. To pledge you can donate to YANA directly at yanacomoxvalley.com/donate/ (mention Pi Day in the notes) or through the YANA office.

What else happens on Pi Day? Boan’s class will be celebrating with pie, of course!

Rockcod brings Celtic music for YANA

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If you like music from the east coast, traditional celtic music, and sea shanties, you’ll enjoy the music of the new band ROCKCOD. The trio members Tom Walton, Bill MacPherson, and Phil Comparelli are the featured performers at the next 1st Tuesday Fundraiser on March 7th. The fundraising event is at the Mex Pub, and donation proceeds will go to support YANA.

Growing up in Nova Scotia, Tom Walton is very familiar with celtic rock as well as traditional Irish and Scottish music. He plays guitar, sings lead and harmony vocals, and also has an ear for arrangement helping to steer the group’s distinctive sound. Bill MacPherson is from a muscial family in PEI cutting his teeth on celtic music. He plays mandolin and guitar, also sings lead vocals and adds harmony. ROCKCOD came together last October with the addition of Phil Comparelli, a former member of the rock group 5440. Phil has considerable musical experience, and although he’s new to Celtic music he has embraced the challenge adding the lilt of the penny whistle. He also brings a third voice which allows the group to perform sea shanties such as Barrets Privateers and Rolling Down to Old Maui.

Tom Walton, Bill MacPherson, and Phil Comparelli are Rockcod, the featured performers at the next 1st Tuesday Fundraiser on March 7th.

YANA is a local charity that provides funding for Comox Valley families whose children may need access to medical care outside of the Comox Valley. Their programs provide access to emergency funding and accommodations. YANA maintains four fully furnished apartments within walking distance of BC Children’s Hospital and also assists with finding and funding accommodation in alternate treatment destinations such as Jeneece Place in Victoria and other locations. Their priority is to help reduce the stress of families and in addition to providing accommodation YANA provides a daily, weekly or monthly allotment of funds to help with costs of travel, food, parking and unexpected expenses.

YANA also provides St. Joseph’s Hospital with funds to make available to Comox Valley families who have a child or an expecting mother who requires emergency transfer to another hospital. YANA has supported over 1000 families since it started in 1986, and works to raise $250,000 a year to operate its programs. This is largely done with the support of community members and volunteers.

“Even though my kids are adults now, I still remember the challenges of being a single parent, trying to keep my family together, and wanting to be everywhere at once,” says Tom Walton. “Even without the additional hardship of having a child with a critical illness, that can be a steep climb. We want to support YANA so that families who have to bring their kids for medical treatments away from home, don’t have to worry about being anywhere else but with their child.”

The music starts at 7:30pm at the Mex Pub, and admission is by donation. The evening begins with event hosts Judy and Bruce Wing, with performance by ROCKCOD and door prizes to follow. For more information about YANA programs visit yanacomoxvalley.com.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the 2017 Big Love Benefit on February 24th! Together, we raised $91,000!

Office closed February 9 due to snowfall and road conditions

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Our office at 102 – 2456 Rosewall Crescent is closed on Thursday, February 9th due to snowfall and road conditions. Messages will be checked and urgent matters handled remotely. We apologize for any inconvenience.

You Are Not Alone’s Big Love Benefit Goes Feb. 24

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You Are Not Alone Comox Valley is looking forward to hosting the Big Love Benefit on Friday, Feb. 24.

Over 300 guests will fill the Florence Filberg for an evening filled with friends, fun, and the spirit of giving. A silent auction and a delicious dinner by Tria Fine Catering will be followed by a heartfelt photo presentation by McKinnon Photography featuring a YANA family. A raffle for WestJet tickets and an exciting live auction led by Dave Stevens will add to the fun along with some other surprises.

“There is a lot of excitement around this event,” says YANA board director Lauren Clark, who is in her second year on the planning committee. “We want it to feel as special for everyone who attends as it is for us.”

“It is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” adds YANA president Judy Cryer. “So naturally it is very important to our organization, but it is also a real celebration of the community that comes together throughout the year to support YANA families.”

Photography by John Bonner courtesy of McKinnon Photography

Photograph by John Bonner courtesy of McKinnon Photography

YANA provides funding and accommodation to local children under 19 and pregnant mothers who need to travel outside the region for medical care. YANA maintains four furnished apartments near BC Children’s hospital in Vancouver and also provides accommodation in Victoria, Nanaimo, and other treatment locations. YANA’s funding and emergency programs assist families with some of the expenses of being away from home, such as food and travel.

This year You Are Not Alone marked its 30th year of service in the Comox Valley. YANA was founded by Sandra Williams after she experienced the sudden illness of her daughter and many months of subsequent medical treatment in Vancouver. Her vision of supporting local children and creating a home away from home for Comox Valley families in similar circumstances was realized in 1986 when YANA became a registered charity.

“Thirty years is really an amazing milestone!” says Clark. “It speaks volumes about who we are as a community.”

“I couldn’t be prouder to be continuing Sandra’s dream or prouder to live in the Comox Valley,” added Cryer.

To be part of the generosity that is required to host such an event, you can donate an item or service for the auction. Consider getting a group of colleagues, friends or teammates together to donate jointly. Or help cover event expenses by becoming a sponsor of the Big Love Benefit. Please call 250-871-0343 or email events@yanacomoxvalley.com for further details.

Interested in attending? Tickets go on sale Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. and are sold online through YANA’s online ticket store. Tickets are $75 each. Last year tickets sold out in five minutes so mark your calendars and set your alarm clocks.

~ Comox Valley Record

Tickets for 2017 Big Love Benefit available soon

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Be part of the big love surrounding Comox Valley children and their families by attending the 2017 Big Love Benefit on February 24th. Tickets to our annual dinner and auction will be available Sunday, January 22 at 10am and can only be purchased through YANA’s online ticket store.  Tickets are $75 each. Guests are grouped into tables of 8. You can purchase up to 8 tickets and you will be seated together. YANA will organize seating for individuals or smaller groups. Tickets sell extremely fast. We hope you can join us!  More information here.

YANA Christmas crackers sold out at all locations

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YANA Christmas crackers are sold out at all locations. The sparkly grand prize donated by Mark the Gold Guy has yet to be claimed so keep your eyes peeled for a special red coupon when you are cracking these festive delights open. We look forward to hearing from the lucky winner. Thank you for supporting this heart-felt Comox Valley tradition!

Driftwood Mall Hosts Christmas Tree Auction for YANA

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From now until December 3rd, Driftwood Mall invites the public to a silent auction featuring over 25 uniquely themed Christmas trees with proceeds benefitting YANA Comox Valley.
For 16 years the Driftwood Mall has been supporting YANA with this annual event. Local businesses, families, and individuals sponsor trees which are displayed in the mall concourse for two weeks. Bidding ends on Saturday, Dec.3rd at 8:00pm. Auction winners take home a decorated tree, complete with gifts, and the proceeds help local families who need to travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or a pregnant mother.
“I’ve always wanted a white tree,” says Isadora Debortolli who purchased her dream tree last year at the auction. “I knew I had to win it, so the bidding was quite exciting!”
MacKenzie Gartside and Associates, who donated that white tree, have been participating for several years.
“We love YANA,” says Gartside. “Decorating the tree and picking out the gifts to go underneath is such a fun tradition for our office. Supporting YANA makes that tradition a special part of our year.”
The Comox Valley Airport tree, “The Gift of Flight”, is a travel themed tree cvac-gift-of-flight-2016featuring two tickets anywhere West Jet flies, two Pacific Coastal Airlines flights, and gifts from Central Mountain Air, Mid Island Gifts, On The Fly Café and Budget Car Rental, a very popular tree among bidders. Driftwood Mall businesses London Drugs and Quality Foods are also decorating trees this year along with new addition to the mall, Canadian Tire.
Among the annual favourites are trees by Kingfisher Resort and Spa featuring a spa retreat, Home Depot who the colour orange to create its seasonal tree, which this year features a deluxe summer package. You will find regular participants Boston Pizza and Bisque Restaurant, as well as many, many more.
Stop by with your family and check out this year’s trees. Kids will love seeing what is underneath each one.
“I will definitely be bidding again this year and am hoping to be able to donate a decorated tree to a family that may need one,” finishes Bertolli. “I’m really inspired by everyone who decorates and donates these trees, I just want to be a part of this generosity!”
Viewing and bidding starts Saturday, November 19th and goes until Saturday, December 3rd at 8pm. Winners take home their amazing trees on Sunday, December 4th.
Driftwood Mall, 2751 Cliffe Avenue

~ Comox Valley Record

YANA Christmas Crackers On Sale Now

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YANA Comox Valley’s annual Christmas cracker fundraising sale will start Thursday, November 17.
Earlier in October volunteers began making the 5,000 crackers needed for YANA’s (You Are Not Alone) annual Christmas cracker sale which has become a popular Comox Valley tradition.
“It was great being able to work out of our new space this year,” says YANA Board Director and Campaign Coordinator, Lesley Hunter. “We’re so grateful for the regular volunteers that come every year and we are happy to meet new ones, it’s such a fun group to work with.”
These hand crafted beauties will go on sale at various locations in November. Each one is filled with neat holiday prizes, 50 crackers have special prizes, including one with a grand prize.
The grand prize is a diamond ring donated by Mark the Gold Guy from cracker-prize-2016Comox Valley Pawnbrokers and appraised by Tim Haley from Simply Timeless at a value of $4,400.
Last year YANA was able to support 141 local families through their funding and accommodation program, assisting with over 300 medical trips for children or pregnant mothers who require medical care outside the Comox Valley.
Crackers go on sale Thursday, November 17 for $3 each and can be purchased at the following locations:
– Driftwood Mall Christmas Tree Display, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay (Nov 17-Dec 3) SOLD OUT
– BCAA, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay SOLD OUT
– First Insurance, 8th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Edible Island, 6th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– F.D. Interiors, 5th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Blush Salon, 5th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– MNP, 467 Cumberland Road, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Coastal Community Credit Union (all branches) SOLD OUT
– Harbourview Dental, Comox Ave., Comox SOLD OUT
– Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave., Comox SOLD OUT
– 40 Knots Winery, Anderton Rd., Comox SOLD OUT
– Vancouver Island Visitors Centre, Comox Valley Pkwy SOLD OUT
– Seeds Market, Dunsmuir at 3rd Street, Cumberland SOLD OUT
– First Credit Union, Dunsmuir Rd., Cumberland SOLD OUT
– Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire at the Florence Filberg Centre Nov 11-13
– Christmas at the Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park Craft Fair Nov 26-27

~ Comox Valley Record

Annual reports posted online

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Interested in learning more about YANA and reflect back on our year?  Our annual reports are available here.

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Sweet Santa Fe plays 1st Tuesday Fundraiser for YANA

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1st-tuesday-fundraiserEnjoy the sounds of Sweet Santa Fe, featured guests of the 1st Tuesday Fundraiser on Nov. 1 at the Mex Pub.

Raising money for the local charity You Are Not Alone, the concert is by donation and features the blended talents of Michel Rivero and Christine Baxter, a delightful new duo on the Comox Valley music scene.

Rivero and Baxter met and fell in love under the Cuban sun, and soon after began writing using music that drew on their Cuban and Canadian influences. They blend interesting melody lines and beautiful harmonies, Spanish guitar and Cuban rhythms. Baxter started singing as a part of her family quartet at the age of five. Over the years she has performed as a back-up singer and as a solo artist, and now continues to enjoy performing with her husband Michel. She also enjoys singing with choirs and travelling to learn different musical cultures.

As a new resident to Canada, Rivero is looking forward to sharing his Cuban roots and music. He is a well-established performer in Cuba, and has played with a wide range of Cuban musicians. As a guitar and percussion instructor, Rivero loves sharing his passion for music, and will continue teaching and performing in his new home in Comox.

Each month, the concert series pairs performers with their favourite charities, and this month, Sweet Santa Fe has selected YANA to receive the proceeds. YANA was founded in 1986 and ensures that families in the Comox Valley are not alone when dealing with medical issues for their children and believes that when a child is ill the whole family requires care. YANA provides financial support so families can stay focused on the health and wellness of their child.

The organization maintains four apartments in Vancouver that provide accommodation within walking distance of Children’s Hospital and also helps families to fund accommodations in other treatment destinations. It also provides a daily, weekly or monthly allotment of funds that help to cover the costs of travel, meals, and other expenses. St. Joseph’s Hospital also receives funds from YANA to assist Comox Valley families or an expecting mother who requires emergency transfer to another hospital. For more information about YANA services visit the website at www.yanacomoxvalley.com.

The evening at the Mex Pub begins at 7:30, with an opening set by organizers Judy and Bruce Wing, accompanied by special guests Blaine Dunaway on the violin and Steve Ruskin on keyboard. A few collaborative numbers with all the musicians will also be part of the evening entertainment.

For more information about 1st Tuesday events, visit Facebook.com/1stTuesdayFundraisers.

~ Comox Valley Record

Going crackers over crackers!

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Thanks to a wonderful crew of crafty volunteers, we have nearly completed making 5,000 Christmas crackers. This Friday, October 28 will be the last crafting session from 10am to 4pm. Look to buy these beauties in participating businesses after Remembrance Day.  You could be the lucky winner of this sparkly diamond ring donated by Mark the Gold Guy!

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Get crafty with us!

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For almost 20 years YANA has welcomed the holiday season by making and selling Christmas Crackers. Our holiday tradition starts early. During the month of October, 5,000 crackers will be lovingly handcrafted by volunteers and filled with fun prizes. 50 crackers will have special prizes, including one with a grand prize. Drop-in crafting sessions are on now until the end of October. Please join us on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 10am – 4pm at the YANA office 102 -2456 Rosewall Crescent (Tin Town). Come get crafty with us!

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Kids’ Clutter Sale October 16 at Courtenay Elementary School

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A glimpse at the goods!  Come see for yourself and get some great deals. Sunday, October 16 from 10am – 2pm at Courtenay Elementary School.

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2016 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride a huge success

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Everyone wins! Sunday’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride was a huge success!  Check out the event photos here! The Comox Valley Record captures the post-ride feeling and highlights. Have a read.

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2016 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride sold out!

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We are delighted to have 600 cyclists registered for Sunday’s ride. YanaRide_logo_nodate

Now that we have reached capacity registration is closed. Please note no registration will be accepted on ride day.

You can still support YANA and this event by pledging a registered rider or by making a donation. Pledge by clicking here.

Please look out for the safety of our cyclists on Sunday, August 21st. 

Caring for Comox Valley kids is how we roll!

 

 

A cyclist, a fundraiser, and a very nice story

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Perry Feltham from Madman McKays is gearing up to do his 4th Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on Sunday, August 21st. Madman Mckays have been hosting weekly barbeques on Saturdays to raise money for YANA. Feltham has also been raising funds privately as he and his wife will be participating in the 100km ride.
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Feltham, an avid cyclist, has been a long term and regular patron of Simon’s Cycles.

“When Simon’s got on board with this annual cycling fundraiser and asked us to help with the training rides, we were happy to get involved. My wife and I have done many rides for different organizations over the years so it was natural to help locally in this way,” says Feltham.

What he didn’t anticipate was how affected he would become by being part of the event. He recalls stopping to refill his water bottle at a convenience store in Cumberland on one of his rides. The young lady at the cash register asked about his cycling jersey and he told her about the YANA Ride.

“Her face changed and her eyes welled up with tears,” recalls Feltham. “She said ‘I can’t tell you how much that means to me.’ And she told me her story and what YANA meant to her family, and when I came back outside my eyes had tears in them.”

Feltham and Madman McKays have been supporting the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride ever since.

“It’s just something you know is right, right for the community and right for us.”

To support the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride and pledge a cyclist click here.

Pumped about the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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We might not be as tough as the crew at Simon’s Cycles but we are equally pumped about the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on August 21!

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Registration will be open until 11:59pm Friday, August 19th OR until such time as we have 600 cyclists. No registration will be accepted on ride day.

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You can help us reach our fundraising goal of $45,000 for YANA families by riding with us or by pledging a cyclist.

Find out everything you need to know about the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride through our registration and pledging site.

P.S. Yes, there will be tattoos at the event! Come to Marina Park in Comox on August 21 to get one for yourself and to help us cheer on these big-hearted cyclists.

Coffee With Marcie Dumais

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The Comox Valley is getting ready to ride for YANA, and You Are Not Alone executive director Marcie Dumais couldn’t be happier.

The fourth annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride goes Sunday, Aug. 21 at Marina Park in Comox and Dumais, an avid cyclist herself, says all indications point to another fun and successful fundraiser.

“We have incredible sponsorship. Our goal this year … was to try and ensure that sponsors cover all event expenses, so that all the ride participation and any fundraising that’s done by cyclists goes directly to our program.”

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Dumais grew up in Oliver, B.C. and lived there until going to the University of Victoria. “I fell in love with the Island,” she says.

“I trained as a teacher and taught in the Comox Valley for a few years. I went to do my masters (in resource management) at SFU then through odd circumstances ended up back in the Valley. My husband is from here…what a great place to raise our family…so we’ve been here since 2004.”

She became involved with YANA seven years ago when attending the auction at the group’s gala event. “I was so impressed with the cause and all the volunteers,” she says. “The ability to make a difference in your community, that’s what continues to drive what I do today.”

She joined YANA’s board of directors in 2011 then stepped up to become executive director in 2013 when Anita Brassard took a job with another foundation.

When she’s not guiding YANA, Dumais loves photography, cycling and “just being active in general – ‘fitness lite,’” she laughed.

Family is also important. “We spend a lot of time on west coast, Tofino. That’s something close to my heart. My husband surfs, I tend to boogie board with the kids. They’re a big focus of my life right now because they’re little.”

Dumais describes herself as a facilitator of fun. “I love games. Recently we had a board social and I was in charge of games. We had the board dressing up and eating chocolates with crazy big oven mitts on.”

Dumais’ efforts are certainly appreciated by YANA president Judy Cryer. “We’re so lucky to have her. She’s amazing. She goes way above and beyond.”

YANA supports families who must travel to receive medical attention, and the annual bike ride is one of their biggest events. More on Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride and the amazing work the organization does is at www.yanacomoxvalley.com

Earle Couper – Comox Valley Record

Plans in the works for YANA Ride

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Whether you’re a novice on two wheels or a competitor preparing for a Gran Fondo, the annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride offers something for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Proceeds from the Aug. 21 event will benefit You Are Not Alone (YANA) — a charity that provides accommodation and funding to Valley families that need to travel outside the community for medical treatment for a child under 19, or for an expecting mother.

“Our planning crew is in high gear,” YANA executive director Marcie Dumais said.

Routes include 25, 50 and 100 kilometre rides, and a 6 kilometre family loop. There will also be a run bike event for little ones not yet using pedals.

The longer loops will incorporate various stops at fueling stations, while the family ride includes a scavenger hunt with clues hidden at parks.

“It’s meant to be celebratory and joyful,” Dumais said. “It’s important, particularly in YANA’s work when so much of it is sad and so much of it is hard and challenging, to be able to have those good times together.”

photo credit: Boomer Jerrit

Photo Credit: Strathcona Photography, Boomer Jerritt

The event has been growing each year in terms of participant numbers and funds raised. The 2013 ride had 271 cyclists and raised over $28,000; 2014 attracted 411 cyclists and generated more than $39,000; and the 2015 ride had 525 cyclists and brought in more than $44,000.

This year, the fundraising goal is $45,000.

For the first time, organizers are capping the event at 600 riders. Registration will close the day before the ride.

“We want to make sure that it’s safe and high-quality,” Dumais said. “Sometimes events get so big they get out of hand. We don’t want the quality to deteriorate.”

The YANA Ride is another example of a local event that is driven by volunteers. For 2016, Dumais figures they are already have 60 to 70 people.

“Volunteers really add to the spirit of the event, and they’re so important,” she said. “We rely on about 100 on the day of.”

The ride is at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at Marina Park in Comox. Those who register before July 22 will receive a souvenir T-shirt, thanks to Dr. Andreas Conradi.

For more information or to register, click here ; those wishing to volunteer can call YANA at 250-871-0343.

Scott Stanfield, Comox Valley Record

Made with love in the Comox Valley

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The Artisans at Potter’s Place celebrate Market Days, July 16th, by celebrating community.

Chances are that if you live in the Comox Valley you’ll have been to Downtown Courtenay’s Market Days where the downtown core transforms into a veritable street festival. Like other retailers, Potter’s Place is getting ready for this busy day by offering a sale.

But this one is different than most sales; that’s because the artisans at Potter’s Place hold this sale to raise money for YANA Comox Valley to support local families who need to travel for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother.Camera Downloads July 06, 2016 008

“We have about thirty potters who craft bowls specifically for this event,” says organizer Joe Stefiuk. “For a $20 donation you choose your favourite bowl and we fill it with rice and homemade chili, you have a great lunch, keep the bowl, and best of all you’re helping families right here in the valley.”

Collecting a bowl, each year, has become a tradition for many Market Day shoppers.

“It’s very special for our potters as well,” says co-organizer Dawn Zilke. “They start working on these bowls early in the year and some of them even collaborate and work together.”

Keltie Schalm stopped by with her twins for a preview. “We’re a YANA family and we love the spirit of community that this sale represents, made with love in the Comox Valley.”

Drop by the courtyard at Potter’s Place during Market Days on July 16 from 10am to 2pm, while supplies last!

180 5th Street at Cliffe in Courtenay.

Comox Valley Echo

Join us August 21 for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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Registration is open for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on August 21, 2016. Join us for a spectacular day of cycling and community spirit.  Click here to register, to pledge or for more information.

Boomer Jerritt Photography

Boomer Jerritt Photography

Croquet for YANA a multi-tasking fundraiser

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croquet

Looking for a fun family event while supporting local non-profit YANA (You Are Not Alone), and the Mark Isfeld and Highland grads? Then the fourth annual Croquet for YANA event at Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay on Sunday, May 1 and at Highland Secondary May 8 is the perfect fit.

The event will include the popular annual Croquet for YANA, the opportunity to test drive a new Ford vehicle, and grad car washes and barbecues.

Christopher and Wendy Smith initiated Croquet for YANA, in support of the local non-profit group that helps families cover the cost of out-of-town accommodation and expenses while a child is receiving medical treatment outside of the Comox Valley.

The Smiths started hosting the event three years ago, the day after their wedding. Chris lost his wedding ring somewhere on the croquet pitch and still has not found it saying “… it must still be honeymooning.”

Although the Croquet for YANA event has been successful, the Smiths understand that business owners can be overwhelmed by requests to support charities. So they began to explore ways to add to the charity event but lessen the blow to the business community by combining a number of charities under one tent. This year the Smiths are partnering with the Mark Isfeld and Highland Secondary grad executives to help with their grad fundraising.

The Smiths believe the concept of Croquet for YANA/Drive One for the Community is all about giving local business exposure for their charity efforts. Each supporting business is given a plot of land on the croquet field to advertise themselves anyway they want, but they must also add a croquet ‘hole’ with a start and end, and at least five wickets. It is just like mini golf.

Tickets are sold, by donation, to players wanting to play the various creative holes. Players are encouraged to wear colourful costumes and decorate or dress their mallets. Croquet equipment is all provided by the Smiths and no experience is necessary.

The activity is suitable for all ages. Last year, croquet players ranged in age from five to 90 years.

“It is a win/win,” said Smith. “Local businesses get to interact with the community, and the community gets a fun event to enjoy, and most important YANA gets much-needed support.”

Apparently a number of businesses are going the extra mile this year staffing their creative croquet holes with greeters to add instruction and encouragement to players.

Both school principals, Mark Isfeld’s Jeff Taylor and Highland’s Dean Patterson, support the events as part of YANA week in the schools.

YANA spokesperson Hugh MacKinnon gave accolades to the Smiths for their community leadership and sponsorship of this event. He also encouraged participation and thanked in advance support for YANA.

“A small community working together can accomplish amazing things,” Chris Smith said.

“Let’s come together on consecutive Sundays at 11:30 a.m. — 3 p.m. and support YANA, recognize the businesses that support our community and make some memories.”

Tickets, by donation, will be available at 11 a.m. at the pre-registration table in the parking lots at both schools prior to the event.

For more information, contact Chris Smith at 250-339-1860, Isfeld Secondary at 334-2428, Highland Secondary at 250-339-5525 or the YANA office at 250-871-0343.

And, remember, in the Comox Valley, You Are Not Alone.

Comox Valley Record

YANA is Moving to Tin Town May 1st

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The YANA office will be moving to 102 – 2456 Rosewall Crescent in Tin Town as of May 1. It is an exciting and busy time as we prepare for moving day.  Fortunately we get by with a little help from our friends… in this case, a lot of help!

Grant Construction is renovating our new space to meet our needs and it is looking fantastic. This father and son team is showing YANA a lot of love while they volunteer together and share their talent. Painting-diva, Robbie Rusk, and her helpful side-kick, Kelly Rusk, are working their magic to ensure our walls are bright and freshly painted. Comox Moving and Storage will be moving our things free of charge. We are grateful for everyone’s efforts.

We will miss our downtown location and are forever grateful to Ives Burger Barristers and Solicitors who have provided us with a fantastic space for many years at a very low rate.

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We are looking forward to our new neighbourhood and the lovely people and businesses in Tin Town. All our other contact information remains the same and there will be no gap in service to families while we transition to our new space. Please update our address in your records and come for a visit!

New address: 102 – 2456 Rosewall Crescent, Courtenay BC, V9N 8R9

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Doctor brewing up unique YANA fundraiser

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Brad Harris and his wife Denise display a bottle of Royston Nano Brewery beer at Gladstone Brewing Company, the site of an upcoming fundraiser for YANA featuring Harris's beer. PHOTO BY ERIN HALUSCHAK

Brad Harris and his wife Dennyse display a bottle of Royston Nano Brewery beer at Gladstone Brewing Company, the site of an upcoming fundraiser for YANA featuring Harris’s beer. PHOTO BY ERIN HALUSCHAK

Brad Harris isn’t afraid of a challenge.

The full-time family physician by day and self-taught brewer by night (and owner of the Royston Nano Brewery) will soon brew the most beer he has ever brewed – 1,800 litres to be exact.

And as much as he likes to share with friends, family and fellow beer-drinkers, this beer is aimed not only at ‘hop heads,’ but to give back to those who helped his family during one of their biggest challenges.

Harris, who practises at the Comox Medial Clinic and St. Joseph’s General Hospital, began brewing his first batch of beer in January 2012.

In November of that same year, his daughter Linden became ill.

“You would think I would know; it happened literally overnight. At 9:30 when I got home she was coughing and had a fever … a day later she was helicoptered off-Island. I drove with my mom to Vancouver and showed up at Children’s Hospital at the ER, and they were moving her up to oncology.”

After a battery of tests, Linden, then three-and-a-half years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of only 35 children in the province to get diagnosed with leukemia every year.

Following two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, Linden is now healthy with a 90 per cent chance the cancer will never return, explained Harris.

While in Vancouver, Harris and his family depended on support from the Comox Valley – particularly that of You Are Not Alone (YANA), which provides accommodations and funding for local families who need to travel outside of the area for treatment for a child under 19 years of age.

Now, with the help of his brewing skills and a partnership between the Royston Nano Brewery and Gladstone Brewing Company in Courtenay, Harris is giving back, challenging himself to make his largest quantity of “unapologetically in-your-face, pushed-to-the-limit IPA.”

The limited release began brewing at Gladstone this week, and will go on sale May 6, as part of the It’s Not Just Beer, It’s Love event for pint sales and growler fills, with all profits donated equally between YANA and BC Children’s Hospital Oncology services.

Harris hopes to raise around $10,000.

“The Harris family has a powerful story,” explained Ocean Varney, community relations co-ordinator for YANA. “It’s a moving experience to hear them speak about their journey, as a family, through Linden’s treatment. Their commitment to giving back to their community and passion for YANA is inspiring. It’s definitely an endeavour that’s powered by love, and on our end we are feeling the love, for sure.”

The beer will be using a third generation Gladstone yeast – a technique used regularly – which was used to create the brewery’s porter and IPA.

Harris’s love for all things beer developed a few years ago after a dinner with friends, who asked him outside of medicine, about his passion.

“I sat back and said: ‘let me think about this. What have I been consistently interested in? Beer.’ It’s a silly thing to have a passion in, but I’ve been interested in it since I was legally able to drink.

“I’ve spent time travelling around the world, and we’ve always made sure to take time out wherever we go to make sure and try the beer. I thought – ‘hey I can brew it.’”

Between working with his patients at the hospital and spending time with his wife and two children and brewing beer, Harris admitted with a laugh he doesn’t sleep much.

The It’s Not Just Beer, It’s Love event takes place May 6 at Gladstone Brewery, starting at 5 p.m. For more information visit roystonnanobrewery.com.

~ Erin Haluschak, Comox Valley Record 

Volunteers – the roots of strong communities

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Volunteer at Annual Simon's Cycles YANA Ride

Tammy, a volunteer at the annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.

Mention the word ‘volunteer’ to anyone involved in a non-profit society and their response will likely include the word ‘backbone.’

April 10-16 is National Volunteer Week — a time to celebrate the 12.7 million Canadians who donate time to numerous causes. The website describes volunteers as ‘the roots of strong communities.’

At Volunteer Comox Valley, the vision is to be ‘an agent of change that promotes community engagement through the power of service.’

People volunteer time for various reasons, be it helping others or doing something fun in their spare time.

There is also an economic side to volunteerism. British Columbians, for instance, contribute an estimated 114 million volunteer hours each year.

“If you look at it Canada-wide, the number of hours contributed is about five per cent of the GDP,” said Tyler Voigt, executive director at Volunteer Comox Valley (VCV). “That’s a substantial number.”

Locally, there are numerous volunteer opportunities with organizations such as the Cumberland Community Schools Society, the Therapeutic Riding Society, Relay for Life, Scouts Canada, Girl Guides and the Community Justice Centre Society. These are all listed on the VCV website.

Vancouver Island MusicFest would not happen without its estimated 1,300 volunteers who tend to the gates, stages, food and other aspects of the annual gathering.

“Our volunteers are the heart and the backbone of MusicFest,” executive producer Doug Cox said. “The festival could not happen without them, nor would we want it to!”

You Are Not Alone (YANA) — another Comox Valley entity — has a pool of 200-plus volunteers to contact when the time comes to host an event, such as the YANA Ride. It also has about 15 volunteers, including a board of directors, who assist on a regular basis. Community relations co-ordinator Ocean Varney describes them as an eclectic variety of youths, retirees, parents, empty nesters and millennials who are generous, lively, fun, and full of heart.

“That YANA is able to fulfill our mandate, of offering accommodation and direct funds to Comox Valley families that need to travel outside our community for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother, is directly linked to the time and effort generously given by our volunteers,” Varney said. “From our board of directors who not only govern but are active volunteers, to our regular office assistants, to our event co-ordinators and event volunteers, they are the backbone of our organization as well as the heart.”

A Stats Canada survey indicates 10 per cent of volunteers contribute over 50 per cent of volunteer hours. Most are 65 years or older. The survey also determined that youth are more frequently involved but on a shorter time period.

“It comes back to having time available to do it,” said Voigt, noting social isolation can be a problem for the elderly. “I think that volunteering to get out of the house is the first thing, but then they realize there’s even more benefits than that.”

A new angle of Volunteer BC is to engage the baby boomer demographic.

“We need to find ways to engage them because they’re the ones that are going to have to take up the torch essentially,” Voigt said. “With this disparity in time contribution, there could be a bit of a problem there for non-profit organizations in the future if we don’t find ways to engage the baby boomer demographic.

“Because it’s an aging demographic, we’re going to have more people that are going to need hospice support, we’re going to need more long-term care facilities. We’re going to need a lot of things that engage volunteers as well. It’s kind of a Catch-22. It’s a bit tricky to provide more service when you don’t have enough volunteers to provide it…It’s funding as well. It’s a big question right now in the health care sector.”

Voigt takes pleasure when explaining to clients that volunteers can pick and choose and dictate time commitment — unlike job seekers who take what they can get.

“Do what you’re passionate about, do what you’re empathetic about, what you care about in the community.”

Volunteer Comox Valley serves 300 to 400 clients a year. Many are newcomers to the community, or new retirees. Charities, service organizations and individuals looking for volunteers can advertise with VCV.

This year, the organization received a $1,550 grant from the Comox Valley Community Foundation. The money will be used to purchase a digital projector to help train volunteer co-ordinators.

“It’s going to be very helpful,” Voigt said.

Volunteer Comox Valley is located at Unit C1 – 450 8th St. in Courtenay. Call (250) 334-8063, or visit their website at volunteercomoxvalley.ca

~ Scott Stanfield, Comox Valley Record

The Kids’ Clutter Is Back For Spring!

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Gear up for summer with all the great gear on sale at the YANA Kids’ Clutter Sale on Sunday, April 17th.

Join us at Courtenay Elementary, 1540 McPhee Avenue, from 10am until 2pm and shop until you drop. Clothing, shoes, books, toys, sports equipment, baby gear, and more, all at amazing prices!

This semi-annual sale is a ‘must’ for young families.

Kids Clutter April 2016

For more information click here.

Record amount raised at annual YANA auction

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Auctioneer Dave Stevens gets top dollar for a Steve Nash-autographed Los Angeles Lakers jersey at the YANA Big Love Benefit. - Photo courtesy McKinnon Photography

Auctioneer Dave Stevens gets top dollar for a Steve Nash-autographed Los Angeles Lakers jersey at the YANA Big Love Benefit. Photo courtesy of McKinnon Photography.

The Comox Valley residents showed a lot of love at the YANA Big Love Benefit, held at the Florence Filberg Centre.

The annual dinner and auction raised $87,000 for You are Not Alone, the community organization that helps Comox Valley families who need to travel to access medical treatment for their children.

It was the highest amount raised in the 26-year history of the event, and a 20 per cent increase over the $70,000 amount raised at the 2015 auction.

YANA community relations manager Ocean Varney said the generosity of the Comox Valley never ceases to amaze her.

“This was our first year calling it the Big Love Benefit and that’s fairly accurate. The people there were just full of love and generosity and fun,” she said. “It’s incredible, really. Every year seems amazing to me, but this was just unreal.”

“Corporate sponsorship was up this year, which is another big reason for that increased total. Because of sponsorship, all the expenses were covered and we could really give everything raised directly to the cause.”

It was not only the corporations coming through.

“The live auction was amazing,” said Varney. “We raised $30,000 in the live auction alone. That’s more than last year, with fewer items auctioned off.”

The silent auction items weaved a path throughout the facility, out the door and down the hallway, as more than 200 items were available.

The YANA crew will now turn its attention to the YANA (Spring) Kids’ Clutter Sale, Sunday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Courtenay Elementary gym (1540 McPhee Ave.). There are many ways for the community to get involved in this event. More information here.

~Terry Farrell, Comox Valley Record

Big Love Benefit raises $87,000 for local children and their families

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The love shared at last Friday’s Big Love Benefit was big indeed and we are incredibly grateful for everyone’s contribution. Our hearts are so full. Thank you!

YANA Big Love Benefit Thank You

Tickets to YANA Big Love Benefit Sold Out Extremely Fast

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Tickets to the YANA Big Love Benefit sold out very quickly. If you would like to be added to a wait list, please email info@yanacomoxvalley.com and specify how many tickets you hope to purchase. We will contact you if tickets become available. If you purchased tickets that you don’t need, please let us know as soon as possible. Thank-you!

YANA Big Love Benefit set for February 26th

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In its 26th year, the YANA Big Love Benefit, will host a fabulous crowd of supporters, who come for the food, friends, fun, and most importantly to be part of the giving that surrounds YANA in the Comox Valley.

Dinner by Tria Fine Catering and a silent auction are followed by a much anticipated photo Auction 2015presentation by McKinnon Photography, featuring a YANA family. A raffle for West Jet tickets and an exciting live auction add to the fun as do some other surprise additions to this year’s gala. As the organization’s largest annual fundraiser the event plays an important role in funding YANA’s programs.

Holding the event is a huge undertaking admits YANA Executive Director, Marcie Dumais, “This special night is possible only through the amazing efforts of our volunteers and the generosity of our community, which is at the heart of who we are and what we are able to accomplish.”

An example of the commitment of YANA’s volunteers is in auctioneer Dave Stevens who has been the evening’s auctioneer since its inception.

“I was approached by YANA founder, Sandra Williams, she had the idea of writing to celebrities for signed donations and auctioning them off, I immediately said ‘Let’s do it’,” remembers Stevens. “That was 26 years ago, the auction has changed and grown since then, I’d say it’s better than ever.”

“Dave leaves his winter retirement vacation early each year to fly back to the Comox Valley Dave Stevens at YANA's 2015 eventand be part of this event,” says YANA President, Judy Cryer. “We are truly humbled by his commitment to YANA and that of all our volunteers and donors who make this night possible.”

For his part Stevens is happy to do it, “There’s a wonderful feeling in the room,” he says. “It really is filled with some very big love!”

YANA provides accommodation and funding to Comox Valley families who need to travel for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother. Last year YANA was able to help 146 local children and their families.

To be part of the generosity that is required to host such an event, you can donate an item or service to the auction. Consider getting a group of colleagues, friends or teammates together to donate jointly. Or help cover event expenses by becoming a sponsor of the Big Love Benefit. Details on sponsorship opportunities are available upon request.

Interested in attending? Tickets go on sale Sunday, January 24th at 9:00am and are sold through YANA’s online ticket store. Tickets are $75 each. Last year tickets sold out in 5 minutes so mark your calendars and set your alarm clocks!

Local Chiropractors Give Back

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Dr. Marnie Grant and Dr. Ken Heinrich of Courtenay Family Chiropractic helped YANA start the new year off in the right direction with a donation that they hope will help strengthen local families.

Courtenay Family Chiropractic 2016

Dr. Heinrich and Dr. Grant, with Courtenay Chiropractic staff, present cheque to YANA Board Directors, Lauren Clark and Adam Wunderlich.

“Just as we are dedicated to wellness in our practice we want to contribute to the wellness of our community, we feel our best resource is in our expertise and looked for an opportunity to incorporate that with giving,” explains Grant.

Spinal Wellness Education proved just such an opportunity. These chiropractors regularly conduct complimentary spinal check-ups at various health expos in the Comox Valley. 100% of all fees collected for in-office check-ups that arise from these events are donated to YANA.

“It is through these events, with the help of all our amazing patients, past and present, that we are able to make this donation,” says Heinrich. “We have seen many clients through our practice and have personal friends who have benefitted from the care of YANA and we felt it was a perfect fit for our support.”

Dr. Ken and Dr. Marnie both have a passion for keeping familes healthy. They love raising their two beautiful daughters, and working in the Comox Valley. They both enjoy an active lifestyle and much of their spare time is spent, with their family, in the outdoors.

YANA Christmas cracker prize a win for everyone!

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This holiday season 5,000 YANA Cristmas crackers were sold across the Comox Valley. They contained the usual fun pleasures plus 50 crackers held special prizes, including one with a grand prize.

Braydon Nickel was the lucky winner of the 2015 grand prize, a diamond ring, donated by Mark the Gold Guy.

Ring Winner 2015

This gorgeous piece has an appraised value of $4545. Braydon opened the winner while celebrating at an early Christmas dinner with his family.

This fundraiser is a holiday tradition at YANA that is supported by the community. Volunteers spend hundreds of hours crafting these festive treats, local businesses sell them and many of our friends purchase and make them a special part of their Christmas celebration.

The proceeds from YANA Christmas crackers support our funding and accommodation program for families who must travel outside our community for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother. Last year YANA was able to assist 146 local children and their families. To find out more about how we help, click here.

A big thank you to everyone who made this campaign a success and such a big win for YANA!

Merry Christmas

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Happy holidays from the YANA Board of Directors!  Back left: Adam Wunderlich, Lauren Clark, Kelly Rusk, Kate Berg and Marcel Moose. Front left: Laura Bomback, Judy Cryer, Lesley Hunter and Hugh Mackinnon.  Missing from photo: Ron Arksey.

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Save The Date

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The YANA BIG LOVE BENEFIT historically known as the YANA Dinner & Auction will be held Friday, February 26th, 2016 at the Florence Filberg in Courtenay. Tickets go on sale Sunday, January 24th at 9am. Tickets will be sold online through our ticket store. Last year we sold out extremely fast (under 5 minutes). Save the date and set your alarm clocks! Tickets cost $75 each, tax and fees included. We hope you will join us for this special evening filled with gratitude, friends and fun.  Interested in being a part of the ‘big love’ that is required to host this event?  More information here.

Auction 2015

Deck the Halls of Driftwood Mall!

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For 15 years, the Driftwood Mall has invited community members to decorate Christmas trees which are displayed in the mall concourse and auctioned off to support YANA Comox Valley.

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Local businesses, families, and individuals get creative with these uniquely themed trees that celebrate the spirit of community giving. Auction winners take home a decorated tree, complete with gifts, and the proceeds help local families who need to travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or pregnant mother.

This Driftwood Mall tradition is a much anticipated holiday event.
“We’re always excited to see which businesses participate and how the trees look.” Says shopper, Katie Faith. “For the last couple of years we have bid on a tree and donated it to a local family, we love that we’re supporting YANA at the same time. It’s a great way to give twice”

Driftwood Mall Christmas 2015 010

The Comox Valley airport is sponsoring a tree for the second year in a row. Last year’s tree, aptly named ‘the Gift of Flight’ garnered a winning bid of $2,500. Driftwood Mall businesses are big supporters of this event, London Drugs, Quality Foods, and the Driftwood Lotto Center will be decorating again this year.

Among the annual favourites is a tree donated by the Chalifoux/Buschomb family, with hand painted gourds that celebrate a unique theme each year. Home Depot uses the colour orange to create its seasonal tree which this year comes with an electric hearth and stockings to hang on it. A weekend getaway at the Kingfisher that incudes a hydropath visit and some stocking stuffers from the spa is a must see!

“Mackenzie Gartside always does a rainbow themed tree with amazing gifts,” says Faith, adding, “But there’s an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tree from the Comox Valley Business Network that I’ll be bidding on this year.”

Driftwood Mall Christmas 2015 003With over 25 trees to view and bid on, it’s a great place for families to stop and have some fun deciding on their favourite.

“This is such a neat event to attend,” says YANA President, Judy Cryer. “We are so grateful to the Driftwood Mall and all the wonderful businesses and individuals who donate these beautiful trees every year. We’re thrilled to be the beneficiary of such generosity.”

Viewing and bidding starts Saturday, November 21st and goes until Saturday, December 5th at 9pm. Winners take home their amazing trees on Sunday, December 6th.

Bringing the Bling to YANA

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In 1997 Sandra Williams, founder of YANA, approached Mark Dalziel of Comox Valley Pawnbrokers about donating a piece of jewellery to help raise money to assist Comox Valley families who needed to travel for the medical care of a child. He didn’t hesitate and 18 years later Dalziel, a.k.a. Mark the Gold Guy, is still ‘bringing the bling’ to YANA.

2014-12-17 11.59.13As a teenager Dalziel grew up next door to the Williams family. When their daughter, Roberta, became ill and spent months in Vancouver for treatment, he saw first hand what that can mean for a family. “The most important thing for a child in that situation is having their parents by their side,” he says, “That is what home means to them.”

For almost 20 years YANA has welcomed the holiday season by making and selling Christmas Crackers. Each cracker is lovingly handcrafted by volunteers and filled with fun prizes. 50 crackers have special prizes, including one with a grand prize. This year Dalziel has donated a diamond ring appraised at $4,545 as the grand prize for this holiday tradition.

2015 Christmas Cracker Grand PrizeChristmas crackers go on sale Thursday, November 19th for $3 each and can be purchased at the following locations:

– YANA Office, SOLD OUT
– Driftwood Mall Christmas Tree Display, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Driftwood Dental, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay SOLD OUT
– BCAA, Cliffe Ave., Courtenay SOLD OUT
– First Insurance, 8th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Edible Island, 6th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– F.D. Interiors, 5th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Blush Salon, 5th Street, Courtenay SOLD OUT
– Coastal Community Credit Unions, all branches SOLD OUT
– Harbourview Dental, Comox Ave., Comox SOLD OUT
– Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave., Comox SOLD OUT
– Arizona Gift Gallery, Comox Mall SOLD OUT
– 40 Knots Winery, Anderton Rd., Comox SOLD OUT
– Seeds Market, Dunsmuir at 3rd Street, Cumberland SOLD OUT
– First Credit Union, Dunsmuir Rd., Cumberland SOLD OUT
– Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, 3607 Small Road off the Hwy Connector SOLD OUT
– Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire at the Florence Filberg Centre Nov 13-15
– Christmas at the Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park Craft Fair Nov 28 only

These Comox Valley favourites sell out long before Christmas, so don’t miss out!

Cracker crafting drop-in sessions wrapped up

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Please note that day time cracker crafting drop-in sessions are wrapped up for this year. We are nearly done making 5,000 Christmas crackers thanks to a great community response. Scheduled evening sessions are full and will proceed as planned. Thank you to everyone who is helping with this annual tradition.

 

Volunteers needed for YANA Christmas Cracker construction!

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cracker volunteersAlthough most of us may not be thinking of the holidays just yet, You Are Not Alone (YANA) is gearing up for its annual Christmas fundraiser and they need the community’s help.

YANA’s Christmas cracker campaign raises funds to help Comox Valley families who must travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or an expecting mother.

The popular crackers will go on sale mid-November, but YANA needs volunteers to help make the 5,000 crackers starting Oct. 13.

“We have been making Christmas crackers for almost 20 years now,” says YANA president, Judy Cryer. “We are so fortunate that we have so many volunteers who come out to lend a hand.”

“It’s a really fun time to be in the YANA office,” adds coordinator Lesley Hunter. “Everybody has a good time and you meet new people; it’s very festive.”

While most of the crackers feature the traditional coloured hat, quote and toy, 50 of them will include special prizes and one will include the grand prize, a diamond ring, donated by Mark the Gold Guy at Comox Valley Pawnbrokers, with an appraised value of $4,545! The crackers will be sold at various businesses, and at the YANA office starting in November.

Volunteers can drop-in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during October and into early November, depending on need. Cracker-making sessions take place at the YANA office at 495 Fitzgerald Ave. in Courtenay.

This is a volunteer opportunity best suited for adults and seniors.

Hunter is looking forward to the next few weeks of crafting and notes the crackers are “a Christmas tradition” in the Valley, and she looks forward to meeting new volunteers who want to keep this tradition of compassion alive.

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/333077951.html

Kids’ Clutter Sale scheduled for October 18 at Courtenay Elementary

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The Kids’ Clutter Sale is coming soon! Kids.Clutter(crops)Oct2015-page-001

YANA 2015 AGM

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Join us Thursday, October 1st at 6:30 pm for the YANA 2015 Annual General Meeting in our office at 495 Fitzgerald Avenue in Courtenay. This is a great way to find out more about YANA and see what we have been able to do in the community this year. Join us in celebrating the generosity of the Comox Valley!

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This lovely piece, donated by Jody Macdonald, represents our vision and values and will be on display.

Natasha Sam creates outreach video for YANA

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September 5th was the official release of Natasha Sam’s outreach video for YANA. Natasha is one of many students who participated in the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s Youth Media Project and YANA is delighted to be the recipient of her efforts.

Shifty Sailors singing for YANA

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Shifties on Suva[2]Ahoy mateys – You Are Not Alone (YANA) of Comox Valley is proud to present America’s infamous Shifty Sailors in concert for a night of song and folklore.

The Shifty Sailors – the largest singing group of their kind in North America – are in their 22nd year bringing sea shanties and maritime music to the world.  The “Shiftys” sing about lighthouses; shipwrecks; military; songs of fishes and whales, and last but not least, good ol’ sailors’ drinking songs.  From serious to lighthearted with instrumental accompaniment by a squeeze box (accordion), guitar and banjo and 20 harmonizing voices, the Shiftys are coming to Comox to bring you a night of fun entertainment.

Having performed at Tall Ship Festivals in Europe, singing festivals in Bergen, Norway; Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; Gdynia, Poland; Leubeck, Germany; Waterford, Ireland; Cherbourg, France, and Prague, Czech Republic, and all over the United States, the Shifty Sailors are excited to add Comox to their list of swash buckling concerts.

Admission is by donation and supports YANA’s work providing Comox families with sick children, or pregnant mothers with medical needs, with travel and accommodation assistance to reach crucial medical treatments outside the Comox community.

Set your sails for music and singing of days gone by with the Shifty Sailors – Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, in Comox.  You’ll be happy you did matey.

Find out more on the Community Led Events page at yanacomoxvalley.com or call YANA at 250-871-0343.

A beautiful day for a ride

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August 16th was a beautiful day for a ride! 525 cyclists supported by 145 volunteers made the 2015 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride amazing and raised $44,000 for local families. We are filled with gratitude and good memories. Have a peek at some snapshots shared on our Facebook page. More photos to come!

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Patti Fletcher and Simon Brampton from Simon’s Cycles

Registration is closed for Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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Thank you Comox Valley! The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride (Sunday, August 16) is now at capacity, and registration is closed. Little ones with run bikes are still welcome to join us on ride day for the run bike event, participation by donation. We are still working hard to raise $45,000, these funds would cover 7 months of accommodation expenses for YANA families. Please consider making a donation to help us reach this goal. Click here to make a donation.

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Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride almost at capacity

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Thank you Comox Valley! The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is almost at capacity! We are able to host 525 cyclists this year. We will be closing registration when we have 525 cyclists registered. Regardless of numbers we will not be accepting registrations at Marina Park on ride day this year. Little ones with run bikes are still welcome to join us on ride day for the run bike event, participation by donation. For more information on the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride, click here.

Stella and Anela bring music to YANA Ride

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This year’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is building up to be the best ever. On August 16th Anela Kahiamoe will bring his pure Hawaiian sounds to Marina Park from 12:15pm. Stella Swanson and her Family Band will perform music from Stella’s debut album, “I’m Not A Bunny” from 1pm.

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After their set Stella and Sophie Swanson will support the day’s youngest riders and officially start the run bike race.

There is still time to register or make a donation to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. For more information, click here.

Photo: left to right: Simon’s Cycles Co-Owner: Patti Fletcher, Stella Swanson, Karen Pantuso Swanson, Sophie Swanson, Anela Kahiamoe, YANA Executive Director: Marcie Dumais

Photo Credit: Kelly Rusk

YANA Ride brings together cyclists of all ages

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Seven-year-old Sophie Clark will ride 25km on August 16th to raise funds for YANA.

What started out as a way to help save the polar bears has turned into a love for riding bikes and now, a way to raise money for a charity that Sophie loves.

“I’m really proud of Sophie, and what she is doing,” says her dad, Aaron, “Sophie really loves bike riding, I remember trying to pick her up from school one very rainy day this year, she refused to get in the car, in the end she rode home with some friends. She really enjoys riding her bike, and we’re a biking family so we think it’s just great.”

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

Sophie explains she started riding when she learned about global warming, “I like polar bears but the ice is melting so where will they live? It’s because of gas and how we use energy, but bikes don’t use gas.”

Seven-year-old Clark says she registered because she “wanted to try something hard and I also love YANA. I like riding my bike because you get exercise and it’s really fun.” Sophie has been practicing for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride all year, “I just did a 24km bike ride with my family in Vancouver, I rode my bike to school all year, and I might try the Saturday training ride with the YANA group. I’ve also been trying to make it up hills.”

Last year Sophie rode the family ride for the second time and raised over $800 for YANA. On August 16th she will ride her longest ride yet, the 25km route. Anyone wanting to pledge Sophie can donate by visiting the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride registration site via: www.yanacomoxvalley.com

YANA’s Executive Director, Marcie Dumais, is overwhelmed by the community support, “I love this community. It never ceases to amaze me how we work together to support our own. People of all ages get behind our ride in so many ways, we have our partners at Simon’s Cycles, participants, sponsors and volunteers all coming together to create one incredible event,” Dumais has many examples to share.

Sponsors cover all costs and expenses ensuring that all registration and pledges go directly to helping Comox Valley families. Dr. Andreas Conradi shows his community spirit as the ride’s premier sponsor, “Twenty years ago, my first-born was on life support and YANA supported our family. Having experienced that, I know first-hand what it means to have your community’s support.” Now he and his team give back in as many ways as they can. This year they chose to provide t-shirts to nearly 500 participants and volunteers, “We really wanted to provide people a permanent reminder of the great thing they are doing when they choose to participate in this ride for YANA. I hope it will remind them of the unity of the ride, the good feeling we all share on the day and the knowledge that it was all done to help others.”

The YANA Ride is made possible by over 100 volunteers, like tri-athlete, Jill Grant, “When I was asked to volunteer I thought it was a perfect fit because this event is about fun and fitness and I have been involved in so many of these events as an athlete, it’s great to give back because it feels so good.

Many of the cyclists in the YANA Ride are joining us for their first community ride. I just love encouraging them to come and enjoy the day,” says Grant, “I remember at last year’s YANA Ride, I was helping a group who were training hard for the 25km route. Some of them ended up doing the 50km route. And oh man! When they came back across that finish line, they were so happy at what they had achieved, and so was I. That’s what I love, I’m just a natural cheerleader.”

The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is a challenging and unique bicycle ride through the beautiful Comox Valley with a variety of routes. Participants will enjoy bike support on all routes, special treats at fueling stations along the way, a delicious BBQ lunch, entertainment, draw prizes, congratulatory medals and discounts at Simon’s Cycles.

With the ride just over 3 weeks away there is still plenty of time for the community to get involved by pledging any of the registered riders, registering to ride or becoming an event sponsor. For more information, click here.

Comox Valley Record

Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride Returns

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YANA recipient, Anna, giving out medals at the finish line of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride last summer.

YANA recipient, Anna, giving out medals at the finish line of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride last summer.

When 10-year-old Anna spent significant time away from home receiving treatment for kidney cancer, she was separated from her mom and brothers who visited when they could.

Anna’s dad was with her in Vancouver. Anna’s mother, Hendrika, credits YANA’s financial support and the use of their apartments for keeping the family together.

“A sick child has a huge impact on family-life, the stress, your kid in pain, sick, struggling and sad, it’s a lot of emotion,” said Henricka. “What a blessing to know that the community supports YANA and therefore you. It’s a big help mentally as well as financially.”

That’s precisely why cyclists will be heading to Comox’s Marina Park on August 16.

“I rode because family is everything to me, I would do anything for my own daughter, and I am honoured to help other families in their time of need,” said Shannon Colthorpe, one of last year’s riders. “I felt proud to finish, and be part of such a great local fundraiser. It’s all fun, there’s no pressure to go fast, and the satisfaction of the ride is worth every ache and pain I felt the next day.”

The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is a challenging and unique bicycle ride through the beautiful Comox Valley with a variety of routes to enjoy including a 25km, 50km and a new 100km loop. There will also be a 6km family route that allows riders of all ages to cycle together regardless of ability.

For little ones not yet using pedals YANA will be hosting a special run bike race. Participants will enjoy bike support on all routes, special treats at fueling stations along the way, a barbecue lunch, entertainment, draw prizes, congratulatory medals and discounts at Simon’s Cycles.

Participants who register before July 23 will receive a free souvenir t-shirt courtesy of one of the event sponsors. Registrants may also purchase an exclusive cycling jersey and join Simon’s Cycles for pre-event training rides.

For more information click here.

Comox Valley Record

We Really, Really Like This Guy!

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KellyRusk_2014Volunteer firefighter Lt. Kelly Rusk has been serving his community with Comox Fire Rescue for sixteen years, which is reason enough to love him, but we have more!

In 2010 he joined YANA’s Board of Directors and has been a dedicated and tireless volunteer ever since. Kelly is part of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride committee, he is active in all YANA fundraisers and, like a firefighter, jumps in wherever he is needed. From research to heavy lifting to arial event photography, from the top of a firetruck ladder, we love that we can always count on him.

Lt. Rusk also has an impressive sweet tooth. Luckily he’s very good at sharing and can be relied on to have something confectionary in hand on the frequent occasions he stops by the YANA office. This may be what we love most about him.

Kelly is a consultant with Investors Group and lives in Comox with his lovely wife Robbie and their adorable dog Johnny Rotten.

Gear up for 2015 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride with training rides

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cyclists 2014Join Simon’s Cycles on the 25k or 50k official routes in preparation for one of the Comox Valley’s favorite cycling events. Anyone registered for the 2015 Ride on August 16 is invited to participate.

Cyclists will meet at Simon’s Cycles, Saturday, June 20 for this training opportunity with subsequent training rides happening June 27, July 4, 11, 18, 25 and August 8.

Those choosing the 50k route ride will meet at 8:45 am and leave at 9:00 am and should be prepared to complete the route in 3 hours maximum. The 25k route ride will meet at 9:15 am and leave at 9:30 am and be prepared to finish in 2 hours maximum. For more information about training rides, call Simon’s at 250-339-6683.

If you haven’t yet registered you can do so here. Cyclists registering before July 23rd will receive a commemorative t-shirt with the fantastic 2015 design.

Registration is open for August 16 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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Please join us for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride for the love of riding and the love of YANA. The event is shaping up to be fantastic!  Free shirts to all participants who register before July 23 and to all volunteers who contribute to this spirited cycling event. Register here.

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YANA beneficiary of artist’s talent

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28620comox09TheDanceYANA is about to get another cash infusion, thanks to the artistic talents of Merville resident Anne Davies.

Davies was recently announced as the “Overall Best of Exhibition Winner” in the inaugural Lilly Oncology on Canvas Canada Art Competition, for her entry, The Dance.

Lilly Oncology on Canvas Canada (LOCC) was created to help those affected by cancer cope with the emotional and physical effects of this disease, through the artistic representation of their cancer journey.

Davies has beaten cancer twice.

“I had been posting on the Canadian Cancer Connections site – it’s a site for people who either have cancer or have had cancer in the past – and I got a note from them saying there was this national competition,” said Davies. “I had posted my paintings on the site now and again but thought, OK I have never [entered a contest] before so I sent in a painting along with a 125-word narrative last September.”

Last week, Davies received notification that she had won the contest. She received a $2,000 first place prize, as well as two $250 prizes for winning two subsidiary categories. The prizes are awarded in the form of a donation to the charity of her choice. Davies has chosen You Are Not Alone.

She said that while there are a lot of worthwhile charities in the Comox Valley, YANA is special to her. Although Davies has never had to use YANA’s services before, she said as a parent, she has an intimate appreciation of the work the charity does.

YANA is a Comox Valley community organization that offers help to local families who need to travel to access medical treatment for their children.

“I chose them because they care for children and families,” she said. “I am a parent and nothing is worse than having a child in desperate need of care.”

Davies’ winning painting is called “The Dance”. She described the painting as an expression of her journey through two separate bouts of cancer.

“What I have come to know – and I don’t know if this is true for everyone – but from my experience, when you first hear you’ve got a cancer diagnosis, it’s overwhelming. It takes over everything and everything seems really dark,” she said. “Cancer doesn’t have a good track record. So it’s in the dance, because you struggle to leave fear behind and go towards health and happiness. That’s why there are two [scenes in the painting]. In the one, you’ll see the darkness, the moon and the sky. The bigger one is the dawn, and it is the dawn that brings the light.

“You have to keep positive when battling, and that’s the dance – the dance between the dark and the light. You are constantly struggling.”

She took her first painting course in the Comox Valley in 1999 and The Dance was painted at MusicFest.

“They have the people, and the tents lit up at night, and the moon to the left of the main stage – that was where it was painted,” she said.

Contest entries will be featured in healthcare centres across the country later this year.

by  Terry Farrell- Comox Valley Record

A Charming Letter From Pierce

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We received this letter from Grade 4 student, Pierce Gerritsen, and were reminded of all that is good in the world and in our schools. It is heartwarming to see kids helping kids and young people who want to make a difference in their community.  A shout out to teachers and parents who nurture this giving spirit. What a fantastic way to start YANA Week in the Schools!

Birthday Money Letter 2015

1st Tuesday Fundraiser, May 5th at the Mex

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Darwin Gagne of Campbell River will be performing an evening concert at the Mex Pub on May 5th, 6:30 to 9:30pm, as guest performer of the 1st Tuesday Fundraisers. His last band “Elmer Thudd” played around Campbell River and Comox Valley for many years, and audiences enjoy his guitar work on renditions of popular songs by James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Joel. Although the band is no longer playing, Darwin continues to play where he can house parties and open mics.  “I play whatever music catches my mood of the moment, and so I end up with an eclectic mixture of cover tunes and some original music,” says Darwin.
1st Tuesday Darwin Gagne, May 5, 2015
The evening concert is by donation, and proceeds will go to YANA (you can bring a non-perishable food item for the Comox Valley Food Bank). “We’re grateful to be included again, and happy that Darwin Gagne has chosen to support YANA and the local families that access our services with his music,” says Ocean Varney, Community Relations Coordinator at YANA.

“Darwin’s music is very appealing to audiences,” says event organizer Judy Wing. “My husband Bruce and I have hosted open mics in the Comox Valley for many years, and Darwin is a performer that patrons inquire about to know when they’ll get a chance to hear him again. If they don’t know him by name, they refer to him as the James Taylor guy, and we know just who they mean.”

Ladies Night!

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mix business with pleasure at this super annual event hosted by Central Builders.

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4th Annual Croquet For YANA Means Fun For Everyone

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Croquet for YANA / Drive One for your School Event and Grad Car Wash at Mark Isfeld Secondary, Sunday, May 3rd and Highland Secondary Sunday, May 10th

Looking for a fun family event while supporting local non-profit YANA and the Mark Isfeld and Highland Grads?  Then the fourth annual ‘Croquet for YANA’ event at Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay on Sunday May 3rd and at Highland Secondary May 10th is the perfect fit! The event will include the popular annual ‘Croquet for YANA’, the opportunity to test drive a new Ford vehicle, and grad car washes and barbeques.

Christopher and Wendy Smith kindly initiated Croquet for YANA (You are Not Alone), the local non-profit group that helps families cover the cost of out-of-town accommodation and expenses whilst a child is receiving medical treatment outside of the Comox Valley.  The Smiths started hosting the event three years ago, the day after their wedding!  Chris lost his wedding ring somewhere on the croquet pitch and still has not found it saying “… it must still be honeymooning!”

YANA Croquette

Although the Croquet for YANA event has been successful, the Smiths understand that business owners can be overwhelmed by requests to support charities.  So they began to explore ways to add to the charity event but lessen the blow to the business community by combining a number of charities under one tent.  This year the Smiths are partnering with the Mark Isfeld and Highland Secondary Grad Executives to help with their grad fundraising.

The Smiths believe the concept of ‘Croquet for YANA’/Drive One for the Community’ is all about giving local business ‘exposure’ for their charity efforts.  Each supporting business is given a plot of land on the croquet field to advertise themselves anyway they want but they must also add a croquet ‘hole’ with a start and end and at least 5 wickets. It is just like mini golf.  Tickets are sold, by donation, to players wanting to play the various creative holes.  Players are encouraged to wear colourful costumes and decorate or dress their mallets.  Croquet equipment is all provided by the Smiths and no experience is necessary! The activity is suitable for all ages and last year croquet players ranged in age from 5 to 90.

croquet“It is a win-win,” said Smith, “Local businesses get to interact with the community and the community gets a fun event to enjoy and most important YANA gets much needed support.”  Apparently a number of businesses are going the extra mile this year staffing their creative croquet holes with greeters to add instruction and encouragement to players.

Both school Principals, Mark Isfeld’s Jeff Taylor and Highland’s Dean Patterson are supportive of the events as part of YANA week in the schools.  A  YANA spokesperson (Hugh MacKinnon) gave accolades to the Smiths for their community leadership and sponsorship of this event and encouraged participation and thanked in advance support for YANA. Smith concluded by saying, “A small community working together can accomplish amazing things, let’s come together on consecutive Sundays at 11:30 to 3 pm and support YANA,recognize the businesses that support our community and make some memories!”  Tickets, by donation, will be available at 11 am at pre-registration table in the parking lots at both schools prior to the event which starts at 11:30 am, but you can join in anytime!  For more information contact Chris Smith at 250-339-1860, Mark Isfeld Secondary at 334-2428, Highland Secondary at 250-339-5525 or the YANA office at 250-871-0343. And, remember, in the Comox Valley, You Are Not Alone!

 

YANA Kids’ Clutter Sale April 19 at Courtenay Elementary

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There are all kinds of ways you can get involved in the YANA Kids’ Clutter Sale which is scheduled on April 19, 2015 at Courtenay Elementary School.  Become a seller, donate items for us to sell, volunteer at the sale or shop… or consider combining all of these opportunities for the full Kids’ Clutter experience!  A shout out to our volunteer coordinators, Tanya Del Bianco and Dennyse Harris, for their behind the scenes work on this great consignment sale for YANA.

Kids Clutter Poster

Great Big Community Scavengar Hunt

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Look at the fantastic slogan ideas we gathered from participants in the Great Big Community Scavenger Hunt. We’re impressed! Thanks for visiting us, we hope to see you again soon!

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Telus ‘TV For Good’ Does Good For YANA

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Telus manager for Comox Valley, Dirk Jezierski, presents YANA with a cheque for $15,000, the proceeds from its recent ‘TV For Good’ campaign. The campaign saw YANA receive $25 for every new Optik TV customer in the Comox Valley.

Accepting on behalf of YANA are president Judy Cryer, Yvonne and Mark Yule, and their son Markus. Markus was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2013 and underwent major surgery and radiation treatments and was declared cancer free in June 2014. He continues to travel for medical appointments as he heals and grows stronger.

“Markus is an amazing guy,” says Cryer “He is upbeat, full of personality, funny, and always willing to come and lend us a hand when we need him. We love having him around and we love that he was here to accept this cheque on our behalf.”

Comox Valley Telus manager Dirk Jezierski presents to Markus Yule on behalf of YANA. Yvonne Yule, Mark Yule, Judy Cryer

Comox Valley Telus manager Dirk Jezierski presents to Markus Yule on behalf of YANA. Yvonne Yule, Mark Yule, Judy Cryer

Easter Eggstravaganza April 6 at Marina Park

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Are you looking for some Easter fun?  Come to Marina Park in Comox on Monday, April 6th at 11:30 am and be ready for the egg hunt at noon.  This activity and all kinds of other family fun will be waiting for you.

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Big Hearts Make For Big Giving

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The Comox Valley community came together once again at the YANA 2015 Annual Dinner and Auction and raised a record breaking $70,200 for You Are Not Alone.

A total of 332 guests attended on Feb. 27 for YANA’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Tickets went fast, selling out online in January, in five minutes.

Roberta Williams picks the winning ticket for the West Jet Raffle at 2015 YANA Dinner and Auction. Picture credit to Ron Pogue Photography.

Roberta Williams picks the winning ticket for the West Jet Raffle at 2015 YANA Dinner and Auction. Picture credit to Ron Pogue Photography.

The evening featured dinner by Tria Fine Catering, a silent auction, a live auction with auctioneer Dave Stevens, a photo presentation of a very special YANA family, by Karen McKinnon, and lots of fun for guests.

“We were thrilled with this year’s auction,” said executive director, Marcie Dumais. “The spirit of giving in the room was profound, you could just feel it.”

“And you get that feeling all through planning this event,” addedYANA president, Judy Cryer.

“The donors, local businesses and individuals that fill the hall with auction items, they all give with so much good will and generosity toward YANA. It’s really a remarkable testament to this community.”

Founded in 1986 by the late Sandra Williams, YANA provides direct funding and accommodation to Comox Valley families who must travel for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother.

Some special guests were able to make the evening even more heartwarming.

“Sandra’s son, Jason, and his family were able to come from Edmonton to be here,” said Dumais. “And they were joined by Sandra’s husband, Jim and their daughter, Roberta. Roberta’s sudden illness as a child and the family’s subsequent experience of spending months away from home during Roberta’s treatment compelled Sandra to create YANA so that other families were not alone during their out-of-town medical treatment.”

“We were also joined by Karena Crumpler, who is a regular attendee of the evening, this year her son, Owen, was featured in the photo presentation and it felt so perfect that she was with us,” Cryer adds.

YANA has served the Comox Valley for 28 years.

Published in the Comox Valley Record on March 6, 2015.

2015 YANA Dinner & Auction Net Fundraising Total

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The Comox Valley community came together once again at the YANA 2015 Dinner and Auction and raised a record breaking $70,200 for local families. Sincere gratitude to everyone that contributed to the February 27th event. It was a night filled with community spirit thanks to numerous volunteers, joyful guests, generous donors and caring sponsors. We live in a community that cares about kids!

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A Very Special Story Shared at 2015 YANA Dinner & Auction

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Words can’t adequately express our gratitude for all the love and support that came our way at the 2015 YANA Dinner & Auction. Our community reached out, joined in, and stood behind local families. We want to share this lovely photo presentation that was shown during the evening. This is one very special story, in the many stories that are YANA. Photo credits to McKinnon Photography and music thanks to Big Little Lions.

The fundraising total is being tallied and we’ll have that information soon! Preliminary numbers are looking fantastic! Please check back.

Have a coffee for YANA at Twisted Dishes Café

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Come down and have a cup of coffee to support YANA, a charity which helps Comox Valley families that need to travel to access medical treatment for their children.

Devin Sexton, owner of Twisted Dishes Café, is raising money for YANA.

From Feb. 24-28 all gourmet Umbria coffee will be offered by donation with all proceeds going to YANA.

Twisted Dishes Café is at 146 Port Augusta St. in Comox.

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/community/293718711.html

Fun, Food, Friendship and Giving

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YANA has announced their Annual Dinner and Auction date, set for February 27, 2015.

This popular evening brings the community together in celebration and support of YANA. Dinner and silent auction are followed by an exciting live auction, featuring auctioneer Dave Stevens. Karen McKinnon presents a much anticipated photographic documentary of the medical journey of a YANA family.

“The YANA Dinner and Auction is our biggest fundraiser,” explains President, Judy Cryer. “Not only does it generate a large part of our annual revenue but it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the 28 years of support this community has given to YANA and helps ensure we will be here for 28 more.”

YANA provides accommodation and direct funding to Comox Valley families who need to travel for the medical care of a child or pregnant mother. Founded in 1986 by Sandra Williams, YANA has assisted hundreds of families and upheld its grass roots ideal, that ‘You Are Not Alone.’

To be part of the generosity that is required to host such an event:
– Donate an item or service for the auction.
– Create a gift basket or purchase an item with a group of colleagues, friends or teammates and donate in the group’s name.
– Sponsor a table at the event for $150. Your marketing image will be displayed on the scrolling big screen, and your business information on tent cards at one of the tables. Details on this or other sponsorship opportunities available upon request.
– Attend the auction by purchasing a $60 ticket. Last year tickets sold out in one hour! They will go on sale on Sunday, January 18th at 9:00am and are available on-line only at yanacomoxvalley.com.

“We are blessed by the unique culture of giving that has grown around YANA,” says Executive Director, Marcie Dumais. “This beautiful story was graciously shared with us by YANA volunteer, donor, and auction guest, Jenny Deters, after last year’s event. It is a lovely illustration of the impact of our community’s commitment to YANA.”

“An Angel Walked Into The Room” by Jenny Deters

I had such a great time at the YANA Comox Valley auction last night. While I was there it occurred to me that not many people knew why this organization was so dear to my heart.

At 20 years old, I was flown by helicopter to Vancouver wearing nothing but a hospital robe. Five months pregnant with my second child and I was told that my kidneys were failing. I spent a very scary two months on bed rest until, at thirty-two weeks, they decided they could not wait any longer and had to deliver my little peanut. Isaiah was born at just three pounds and he was a miracle. I was told he would spend the next two months, at least, in hospital care, with most of that being in Vancouver.

Two days after my son was born, hospital staff came in to inform me that I was being released from the hospital. They needed my room for someone else. My baby had to stay, of course, but I could not.

Jenny Deters with her son Isaiah, who will turn 18 on Feb. 21I had no money, no clothing, nowhere to go. As I sat crying in my hospital bed wondering what I was going to do, scared, emotionally and physically drained from the traumatic birth of my tiny bundle two days earlier, an angel walked in to my room. She told me she was from some mysterious organization called YANA and they were here to lend me an apartment for as long as I needed, two blocks from the hospital. She also was going to give me some clothing so I did not have to walk the city naked, and filled the fridge full of food. Basically she gave me the ability to spend the first two critical months with my son worry free.

This was a gift that I could never repay. This is why I love this organization and those who volunteer/donate to ensure that other families can have this priceless gift as well. Thank you.

http://www.comoxvalleyecho.com/news/community/fun-food-friendship-and-giving-1.1729518

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/news/288569761.html

YANA Christmas Cracker Prize Creates A Big Surprise

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Ted Sauve was sporting a great big smile when he stopped by the YANA office to pick up the grand prize from YANA’s annual cracker sale. He received the winning cracker at the Hollis Wealth client appreciation Christmas party.

“It was a big surprise,” laughs Suave. “When you open one of these things you just expect a little toy.” As well as a toy, he found a special tag. “It said ‘Congratulations! You have won a $1500 pair of diamond earrings from YANA’.”

Ted Sauve CRacker 2014Of course this wonderful gift would not be possible without the generous support of our community. Every year Mark Dalziel donates the grand prize, a stunning piece of jewellery, and Tim Haley donates the appraisal.

“Mark has a long history of supporting YANA,” says Lesley Hunter, YANA board director and volunteer who coordinates this event. “People call Mark the ‘Gold Guy’, he definitely has a heart of gold.”

YANA is so grateful for everyone who makes this holiday fundraiser a success; the volunteers who hand craft these fun crackers, the local businesses who sell them, and the people who make them a part of their Christmas celebrations.

With the help of the Comox Valley community YANA is able to offer direct funding and accommodation to local families who must travel for the medical care of a child or a pregnant mother.

What did he do when he found out he won? “I called my wife right away and told her I knew what she was getting for Christmas,” says Sauve.

We hope she liked her gift!

http://www.comoxvalleyecho.com/news/local/yana-christmas-cracker-prize-creates-a-big-surprise-1.1706481

Big Spirit Brings Big Success for Driftwood Mall Event!

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The Driftwood Mall’s Christmas Tree Auction in support of YANA raised an amazing $9,138.68 this year! The annual event, started by the Mall in 1999, has generously supported YANA for the past 16 years.

Local businesses and individuals decorate trees which are then displayed in the mall concourse, where members of the public can take part in a silent auction and bid on their favorite tree. The winners take home the fully decorated trees, many complete with gifts, and the Driftwood Mall donates the proceeds to YANA.

Driftwood Mall Christmas Tree Auction 2014

Some highlights this year include the Comox Valley Airport’s tree aptly called “The Gift of Flight” which earned $2,525, making it the highest bid ever at this event! The Chalifoux/Luscombe family’s lovely handcrafted decorations, featuring painted gourds, made “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a crowd stopper. The Needle Loft’s beautiful quilt set was a dreamy treasure under their tree and all the bright orange goodness under Home Depot’s tree made it a huge hit with bidders. The care and generosity that all sponsors put into their trees was a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!

YANA would like to thank everyone who took part this year and made the Driftwood Mall’s fundraiser such a huge success. Our gratitude to:

Chalifoux/Luscombe Family; Courtenay Fish and Game; In Loving Memory of Kaiya Williams; London Drugs; Trisha Randle; Driftwood Ticket Centre; Tisdall/Godfrey/Van Cleave Family; CV Business Network; Kelli Andrews; Team Deters/Team Behan; Investors Group Financial; All In One Party Shop; Boston Pizza; Comox Airport; Target; Generation Gap; Vrable Family; McKenzie Gartside; Kingfisher; Needle Loft/Seams Perfectly Simple; K.W. Electric; Banks/Razmus Family; The Bisque Restaurant; Quality Foods and A Step Above; Gayles Grooming In Memory of Kweil Lewis; Home Depot; The Rushton Family; Angels; Ecole Au-Coeur-De-Lile; Mosaic Vision Care; Sandi Piper; and The Tee Box.

Christmas Crackers Sold Out

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We’re happy to announce that our Christmas crackers are sold out. Thank you to everyone who has bought crackers. We’re pleased that these little handcrafted treasures will add to your fun over the holidays and bring community spirit to your family traditions. A big shout out to all our vendors and craft sale volunteers!

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Seasons Greetings

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Merry Christmas! The board and staff at YANA would like to thank this community for a wonderful year. It was full of kindness, caring, and giving. We wish you all the happiest holiday.

2014-12-04 20.26.19

 

Giving Tuesday: Good for the Community

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Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non profits. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, Giving Tuesday is a movement for everyone who wants to give something back.

You will find all kinds of great ways to get involved including the “unselfie”, opportunities for matching funds and the option to purchase charity gift cards.

YANA is upheld by the generosity of the Comox Valley community. There are many ways to give and we are grateful that you would consider giving to YANA on Giving Tuesday so that we can ensure children from local families are well supported during their out-of-town medical treatment.

Donate directly or learn about other ways to give to YANA.

Driftwood Mall Supports YANA with Annual Christmas Tree Auction

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During the weeks of November 22nd to December 6th, Driftwood Mall is hosting its Annual Christmas Tree Auction for YANA.

This event roots back to 1999 when Heather Tisdall, past manager at Hallmark Cards, was asked by the Driftwood Mall if she would like to organize a Christmas Tree Auction for YANA.

“Of course I did,” says event coordinator Tisdall. “And that first year was so much fun, I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Heather 2014

For fourteen years local businesses, families and individuals have been decorating trees which are then displayed in the mall for two weeks, ending December 6. A silent auction during that time allows the public to bid on their favourite tree. Tisdall is on site, overseeing bids, for the full two weeks, from morning until night.

“This is a fantastic event and a big fundraiser for YANA,” says YANA President, Judy Cryer. “Heather does an amazing job and we are so grateful to the Driftwood Mall and all the wonderful businesses and individuals who donate these beautiful trees. Their continued support for YANA and our community means so much.”

For her part, Tisdall puts it simply, “This makes me feel good. YANA reached out to help with my grandsons and I just want to give back.”

“You can take home a fully decorated tree or use it at your business or donate it to a family who may need one,” finishes Cryer. “Either way, you are helping YANA and our community and that is the true spirit of the holidays.”

This year there are 32 trees to bid on, some complete with gifts, ready to go home with the lucky winners.

Here’s who is participating this year:

Chalifoux/Luscombe Family; Courtenay Fish and Game; In Loving Memory of Kaiya Williams; London Drugs; Trisha Randle; Driftwood Ticket Centre; Tisdall/Godfrey/Van Cleave Family; CV Business Network; Kelli Andrews; Team Deters/Team Behan; Investors Group Financial; All In One Party Shop; Boston Pizza; Comox Airport; Target; Generation Gap; Vrable Family; McKenzie Gartside; Kingfisher; Needle Loft/Seams Perfectly Simple; K.W. Electric; Banks/Razmus Family; The Bisque Restaurant; Quality Foods and A Step Above; Gayles Grooming In Memory of Kweil Lewis; Home Depot; The Rushton Family; Angels; Ecole Au-Coeur-De-Lile; Mosaic Vision Care; Sandi Piper; and The Tee Box.

Did You Know?

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Did you know that we made 5,000 Christmas crackers in record time?!  Thanks to an amazing volunteer response and tremendous leadership by YANA Board Director, Lesley Hunter, we completed crafting on November 3rd, 2014.  These beauties will be making their debut this weekend at the Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire at the Florence Filberg Center, November 7,8 & 9.  Click here for more information.

Our friends at Shaw captured some of the magic.  Take a peek!

Morning At The Movies Screens Retro Classic – Ghostbusters

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“Who you gonna call?”

If you grew up in the 80s you will likely know the answer to this question. Adam Duncan, President of ADI Benefits, admits he grew up in the 80s and admits his all time favourite films are from that era.

“I think it was a great decade filled with great films,” says Duncan. “I can name at least a dozen I’d like to see one more time on the big screen.”

Duncan wanted to do something fun for family and friends last year, so he rented the Rialto Theatre and invited the community out for a special showing of “Back To The Future.” Since moving to the Comox Valley he has been a supporter of YANA and thought the event would be a cool fundraiser. It went so well he decided to do it again.

“Halloween seems like a perfect time of year for Ghostbusters and the morning after Halloween is perfect for a movie day,” continues Duncan. “This is a great community and I’d just like to show my appreciation for being a part of it.”

Doors open November 1st at 9:30 am for the 10:00 am showing at the Rialto Theatre, 2655 Cliffe Avenue.

DSC_0012There’s a prize for the best costume, though coming in pjs is fine too. The concession will be open and offering special prices. Admission is by donation to YANA, with a suggested $5 minimum at the door.

Please RSVP to info@adibenefits.ca with the number in your family or group.

Parental Advisory: This is the full movie version and was rated PG at its original release in 1984.

Interested in displaying a poster to help promote this fun event?  Click here!

 

‘Our Story’ Shared at 2014 AGM

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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.

Roberta the Early Years

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.

A Fundraiser, A Volunteer, And A Very Nice Story

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Once upon a time there was a fundraiser called ‘Consignment For YANA’. It is this great, on-going idea initiated by a volunteer named Loretta Semple. She worked with consignment retailers to set up accounts so gently used clothing donations can be received directly at most stores and dedicated to YANA.  To make things easier for donors and retailers, she’s willing to receive clothing donations personally and take the items in to local consignment stores.  A couple times a year she collects the money and donates it to YANA.

We wanted to support Loretta with what she is doing by posting a story to our website. But then we started thinking about Loretta and all that she does for YANA and we realized that SHE is the story we want to tell.

2013Auction_LorettaPhotoboothLoretta came to the Comox Valley with her family in 1991 from Ontario and shortly after a brief health scare with her youngest daughter became involved with YANA. She started by volunteering at fundraisers and in 2006 joined the Board of Directors until 2012, assisting in guiding this grass roots organization to what it is today.

She is the kind of person who never seems to run out of energy, she is the kind of person whose spirit inspires the people around her, she is the kind of person who is like a fairy godmother to an organization like YANA. When we really need something, she appears at just the right moment, and waves her magic wand.

Currently her main focus is the ‘YANA Auction Committee’ and ‘Consignment for YANA’, but she still picks up the YANA cans, for coin donations, from various businesses around the Valley. In addition to this, she is a volunteer presence wherever she is needed.

2013Croquet_LorettaLoretta loves to dress up, be active, and be involved. She has three great children, all grown up and pursuing their own passions, and lives happily ever after in Comox with her husband, Dave, of 29 years.

We hope you enjoy these pictures of Loretta, we love having her on the YANA team!

To support Consignment for YANA, follow the ongoing fundraiser on Facebook.

 

YANA Kids’ Clutter Fall Sale

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Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 25th, 2014…. the Kids’ Clutter Sale is back!

This is an opportunity for young families to get motivated to pack up clothes that are too small and toys that are gathering dust on the shelves, and to make some money from their de-cluttering.

It’s a chance for other families to come out and get some really good deals on gently-used children’s clothes and other items. Anything from strollers to games to bikes might be on sale. It’s a great event for YANA to connect with families in the Valley and to help with something that benefits us all.

kids clutter

This semi-annual event held at the Courtenay Legion is a Comox Valley favorite with something for everyone. Gently-used clothing, accessories and toys are all on sale for fantastic prices. You can become a seller, strictly buy, or volunteer…. and by popular demand, there is also the option to donate this year.

There is typically a line-up down the street for this sale. That’s a pretty good indication, you will love this sale!

Click here to buy, sell, volunteer or donate.

YANA Ride Video Release

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We are very excited to release Fox & Bee’s amazing video of the 2014 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.  Thank you, Fox & Bee, for volunteering your time and talent to create this magic!

YANA Ride Exceeds Target

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Special guest volunteer Tori presents Terry Parkinson with his medal at the end of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on Sunday. A total of 405 riders took part in the ride, raising in excess of the targeted $32,000 goal for the local charity.  We sure appreciate The Record being there to capture the moment!

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Sunday’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride – A Buzz with Volunteers

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Organizers are delighted that over 185 cyclists will be supporting Comox Valley families at this year’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. But the buzz at YANA is focused on five very special volunteers. Markus, Gabe, Tori, Anna and Owen are all members of YANA families, who will be welcoming cyclists back to Marina Park as they cross the finish line on Sunday 17 August.

DSC_0026“It’s fantastic that these children will be coming out to support future YANA families, we are super excited to host these very special volunteers. They are the reason why we will all be at Marina Park on Sunday.” comments Marcie Dumais, Executive Director of YANA.

Participants of the 2nd annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride choose their route and cycle anywhere from 5, 25, 50 or 100km. Event expenses have been completely covered by sponsorship, as a result, the money raised from registrations, pledges and t-shirts sales will go direct to YANA families. There is still time to register to ride, make a donation by pledging a rider, or volunteer on ride day.

“Many of these young volunteers have shared their experiences to help YANA communicate what we do, their stories are the heart of our website.” continues Dumais.

11 year old, Markus, or Iron Man Markus, loves nerf guns and video games and, he’ll be starting grade 6 in the fall. It was during the fifth grade that he earned the name Iron Man Markus. He tripped and hit his head at school then ended up at St Joseph’s Hospital, where they found 2 tumors, one on top and the other at the back of his head. After undergoing major surgery and chemotherapy Markus recently celebrated one month cancer free.

Gabe is 7 years old and has undergone years of leukemia treatment in Vancouver and during that time YANA has had the privilege of being part of a journey which started suddenly when he was only 2 ½.

Tori was born in 2007 at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with a heart condition. She required open-heart surgery four days after she was born. Tori spent her first year in hospital where she received a tracheotomy, ventilator, and a second heart surgery. YANA financially assisted her family’s stay in Vancouver for the first 15 months of her life, allowing them to focus on Tori.

9 year old Anna spent significant time away from home receiving treatment for kidney cancer. Although her father was with her, she was separated from her mom and brothers, Rens and Diego, who visited when they could. Anna’s mother, Hendrika, credits YANA’s financial support and the use of the apartments with keeping the family together. She adds, “A sick child has a huge impact on family-life, the stress, your kid in pain, sick, struggling and sad, it’s a lot of emotions. What a blessing to know that the community supports YANA and therefore you. It’s a big help mentally as well as financially.”

Owen was born premature and spent the first 117 days of his life in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at BC Children’s Hospital. He has been living with cerebral palsy for 6 years now. YANA has been with his family since the beginning.

“Markus, Gabe, Tori, Anna and Owen, have such courageous stories, each of those stories was made more manageable because of YANA and the Vancouver apartments,” shares Patti Fletcher, Co-owner of Simon’s Cycles, “they are the inspiration for this year’s fundraising goal; we’d like to raise $32,000, which would pay for 5 months of accommodation expenses for Comox Valley families.”

YANA helped 112 local families in 2013, funded 290 medical trips, provided over $75,000 in financial assistance and offered homes away from home in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

Read more about these and other YANA stories.

There is still time to support Comox Valley families by registering for the ride, making a donation or volunteering, for full details see event website.

Tori returns to the 2014 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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We are delighted to learn that Tori will be joining us again at the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on August 17th. Tori will be there to support her friend Jeff and welcome all riders as they cross the finish line at this year’s ride. Tori and Jeff’s story was told by The Comox Valley Echo last summer, and is re-published below.

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Cycling ‘fast-fast’ for Tori
originally published August 16, 2013

Jeff Mosher knows this Sunday’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is not a race, but he’ll be going “fast-fast” none-the-less. For he’s seen first hand the difference YANA makes to Comox Valley families.

“In July of 2007 my wife and I received exciting news from our close friends Shayne and Erin Boelk that they were expecting twins,” said Mosher. Little did he know that one of their daughters would inspire him to ride faster and raise more than $800 for the Comox Valley charity.

Tori Boelk was born November 29, 2007 at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with a heart condition. Her sister Lara never made it, succumbing to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome during Erin’s 28th week of pregnancy.Tori required open-heart surgery four days after she was born, spending her first year in hospital where she received a tracheotomy, ventilator, and a second heart surgery. She will require three more surgeries as she grows.

YANA financially assisted her family’s stay in Vancouver for the first 15 months of her life, allowing her family to focus on Tori. YANA has already committed to additional support for Tori’s numerous follow-up procedures in the years to come.

Now five, going on six, Tori is back at home in Courtenay where she is fiercely independent and rapidly growing out of a continuous feeding tube and a portable vent.

“This doesn’t hold her back,” said Mosher. “Her powered wheelchair should only go one speed according to her – “fast-fast!” – because slow is too boring.

“When Simon’s Cycles announced they were hosting the 2013 YANA road ride it was a hands down choice for me. What a great opportunity to return the support YANA gave to my friends by getting pledges for YANA to go ‘fast-fast’ on the 100 km ride because slow is too boring.”

Mosher will be one of more than 100 cyclists taking part in this year’s longest leg of the YANA Ride – a 100 kilometre route – but there will be many more riders of all ages peddling shorter distances.To donate and help Jeff’s ride for Tori – or any of the other participants – visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com, click the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride banner, and click ‘pledge a participant’. Find and click the name of one you wish to support, such as Mosher, to offer sponsorship. Tori’s story is available at the same website, under ‘Stories’. Find out more about the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride or to register to take part, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com.

© Comox Valley Echo

Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride: Feel good – do good – look good

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Registration is open for the 2014 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride, and this year, participants will have the opportunity to buy an exclusive ride jersey.

YANAJersey_Illustration_web

The ride will take place on Sunday, August 17 at Marina Park in Comox. There is a route for cyclists of all abilities including 25km, 50km, 100km or a 5km family ride.

“We are so thankful for all the support that the community provides YANA, the ride is yet another example of how supportive the Comox Valley is of our local families in need,” says Marcie Dumais, Executive Director of YANA.

YANA helped 112 local families in 2013, funded 290 medical trips, provided over $75,000 in financial assistance and offered homes away from home in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. Patti Fletcher, co-owner of Simon’s Cycles shares, “Last year’s ride raised $28,000, this year, we have a specific goal, we’d like to cover five months of accommodation expenses for families, to do it we’ll need to raise $32,000.”

Dumais continues “We have been working with Simon’s Cycles to repeat the success of last year’s event.”

“Yes, but we wanted to introduce some new elements, too” adds Fletcher. “This year we are excited to offer a YANA Ride custom designed jersey for registered participants. This is not only a great compliment to your active wear, but a fun functional memory piece to a Ride Day that you’ll never forget.”

Simon’s are working with Michael Johnson of Good Thinking Design to deliver the jersey. The $75 jersey is exclusively available to participants who register for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride before Sunday July 6th. To ensure a good fit, visit Simon’s Cycles on Comox Avenue and try one on for size.

Click here for more details, to register, volunteer or to buy a bike jersey.

Island Charity Wrestling… Tough Guys With Big Hearts

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ocean misc 032Island Charity Wrestling is coming back to the Valley to put on another great family charity show on Sunday, July 20. Since it’s all for and about the kids, all profits again this year are going to support You Are Not Alone (YANA).

Since 2009, the ICW group of local retail workers and weekend warriors have put on entertaining, low-cost family wrestling shows for local charities. All money raised beyond covering the cost of hall rental goes directly to YANA.

ICW is a mix of touring pro wrestlers and local beginners and trainees who give their all in the ring in the spirit of community service. The pros always put on great matches and the trainees make up for inexperience with larger-than-life good and evil characters everyone can boo or cheer. ICW has a loyal following, most of which are children.

In addition to 90 minutes of action, there will be prize draws, concession, and plenty of opportunities for children and parents alike to meet and get photos with the wrestlers in and out of character.

The theme of this upcoming show is “Night of Champions” and is the only event of the year in which all four championships are on the line. There are matches for every taste, and in addition to four title bouts, there will be singles and grudge matches to fill out the card.

For the ICW championship: “Dangerous” Doug Beattie vs. Splash Campbell. DDB’s used every possible dirty trick to retain his title, including constant interference by The Chain Gang mates Acadian Assassin and A-Train. Prior to the Comox show last August, The Chain Gang beat down Splash Campbell at home, shown to the crowd, keeping him from challenging for the title. Is he physically ready to compete, or will The Chain Gang’s cheating again overcome the giant challenger?

Vancouver Island Hardcore Championship “Fans Bring the Weapons” match: Stan “The Lumberjack” Boyd vs. Acadian Assassin. Acadian Assassin is evil and vicious, and is now into his third reign as champion, including one reign that lasted nearly four years.

No disqualifications, pinfalls count anywhere, and the last Comox show in August saw the re-introduction of the 24/7 rule, meaning the champ can be challenged anytime, anywhere, by anyone who brings a sanctioned referee. This rule led to a crazy match in Comox last time that had three title changes before the dust settled and Acadian Assassin left with the title his name has become synonymous with. He’s managed to hold onto it since then, but anything can and will happen in Comox.

For the ICW Vancouver Island Tag Team championship: Some of the Island’s best pros will be battling for the gold in this match as the team of “The Horror Show” Matt Havik and Slade, defend against “Super Tremendous Dudes” Krofton and Comox Valley’s own Barry Goode. The Horror Show overcame steep odds to end The Chain Gang’s three-year reign as tag team champions, but they’ve yet to defend their titles against a team with the flair and experience of STD.

The Vancouver Island Charity championship will also be on the line in an invitational, over-the-top-rope battle royale.

Others scheduled to appear include: “Big” Willy Johnson, suspended Bruins’ enforcer Ron “The Hammer” Domi, A-Train, The Bumbling B, Major America, El Taco Grande, and more.

Also appearing is Goat FM’s “Rock Dawg” Andrew Davis as the celebrity ring announcer and MC, as well as newly-hired ICW commissioner, Courtenay city councillor Manno Theos, who promises to bring some justice and order to his new position at the helm of ICW.

All seats are available for only a minimum $5 donation, making ICW low-cost family entertainment that anyone can see, and also helping local charity. It will be held at the K’omoks First Nation gym next to the I-Hos Gallery, at 3320 Comox Rd. in Courtenay. Doors open at 7 p.m. and bell time shortly after. Seating is limited so ticket pre-purchase is recommended, however unsold tickets will be available at the door.

In addition to continued support from The Real Canadian Superstore, this year ICW has teamed up with a great local sponsor, Aliens vs. Pizza. In addition to being ICW’s official ticket outlet at their restaurant at 542 Comox Rd., Courtenay (near Lewis Park), they have also pledged to donate 20 per cent of the sales of their feature “Planet X” pizza to add to ICW’s donation, so what better time to try out a great new pizza and help local charity at the same time?

Tickets are also available from any participant, or by phoning 250-792-3332. Donations are very much appreciated, so even if you are not sure you can make it to the show, or are not a fan of wrestling but like to help out, consider buying a ticket anyway to show your support.

– Island Charity Wrestling

Coastal Black Solstice Run – June 21

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Coastal Black Winery is delighted to announce their first annual Solstice Fun Run. This event will lead guests through the 600 acre estate winery nestled at the base of Mount Washington. Featuring a 5 km fun run, delicious snacks and sparkling wine, this evening promises to be very special. Annie Becker will be performing songs from her award winning album after the run.

funrun007_2With over 100 acres of fruit, Coastal Black is the largest cultivated blackberry farm in Canada. Their dedication to organic practices includes pollinating the vineyard with their own bees. A commitment to the preservation of land, air and waterways is one of the core values that inspire this family run farm.

Four years of wine sales for this growing winery has delivered them several domestic and international awards. The facility which features a tasting room, patio bistro, and ‘barn’ style event space has recently expanded with the addition of a wood fired, brick, pizza oven.

Coastal Black is generously supporting YANA and Cameryn’s Cause with a portion of the proceeds from registration to be donated to the runner’s choice. YANA is thrilled to share this opportunity with Cameryn’s Cause and for participants to gain more awareness of these two organizations. Both of these non-profit groups provide support to families with children who must travel outside of their communities for medical care. YANA supports families in the Comox Valley and Cameryn’s Cause serves Campbell River.

Check out the event photos here!

 

Annie Handley at Mex Pub June 3rd

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Annie Handley will be performing with her band at the Mex Pub on June 3rd as guest performer of the 1st Tuesday Fundraisers concert series. The musical journey of this Vancouver Island singer/songwriter is an inspiration for those who love great songwriting, as well as for those who’ve shared their own music on YouTube – a forum where Annie’s songwriting talent and musical imagination have attracted followers from around the world.

Annie Handley

Her music is a wonderful paradox that combines universal themes of beginnings and endings, quests and conclusions in both gentle and edgy grooves with a styling reminiscent of rocker Sheryl Crow. Her debut CD titled “No Shoobie” topped the “What’s Hot” pop music category on iTunes Canada. Among Annie’s musical accolades is placing in the top 3 of BC Music Magazine’s New Music category and in the top 30 in a world-wide search for Alternative Music in 2010. Her Song “Bring Me Back Alive” was selected to be on the Television show “Beauty and the Beast”.

Annie is joined by Telecaster-toting guitarist Doug Biggs, well known in the Comox Valley and beyond for his creative approach and discerning ear. As comfortable on stage as behind the sound board, Doug is an established engineer/producer from Southern Ontario who has produced numerous projects for local artists including Annie, and is a valued member of sound crew at many Vancouver Island events including Musicfest. On the kit is seasoned studio drummer Bill Cymbala who has recorded with Daniel Lanois, Sylvia Tyson, Raffi, and Jerry Doucette among others. In addition to playing with Annie Handley, Bill will be performing on the main stage with the Ray Materick Band at Musicfest this year. Setting the groove on the bass will be Dave Devindisch of Campbell River who joined the band DDT with Courtenay legend Brian Howes. After signing an international record deal, the band toured Europe and had the opportunity to open for Kid Rock. With so much seasoned musical talent on stage, the evening will be an incredible show of fine songwriting, performance, and musicality.

Admission to enjoy this evening of great music is a donation to YANA, a Comox Valley charity that has been supporting local families in times of health crisis since 1986. YANA supports local families whose children require medical treatments not available locally. They provide accommodation, and travel assistance so that families can stay together during stressful times. YANA is a charity near and dear to the hearts of many valley residents helping thousands of families by funding medical trips to Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, as well as the U.S. and England.

The evening begins at 7:30pm with an opening set by event organizers and hosts Judy and Bruce Wing, followed by Annie Handley and her band. Food donations for the Comox Valley Food Bank are also much appreciated. For more information about Annie Handley, visit www.anniehandley.com

Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride Confirmed for 2014

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Local charity You Are Not Alone (YANA) have announced the date for this year’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.

The ride will take place on Sunday, 17 August at Marina Park in Comox. There is a route for cyclists of all abilities including 25km, 50km or 100km rides. We’ll also be hosting a 5km family loop and a special run bike race for those not yet comfortable with pedals. To register for the event and to learn more, click here

Anyone who has a bike is encouraged to join the ride and for those who don’t, but would like to be involved, please consider volunteering with us on the day.

Last year 271 cyclists of all ages joined YANA and helped raise over $28,000, all of which went to help Comox Valley families in need. YANA’s Executive Director, Marcie Dumais, says, “The event is a defining part of YANA’s fundraising calendar, it’s great family fun and we are delighted that Simon’s are partnering with us again.”

Alex Dunae, 2013 YANA Ride Participant recalls, “I signed up for the YANA 50km ride on a whim and immediately regretted committing myself so publicly to the longest ride of my life.  But with friends and family committing cash, riding was the only option.   And so I rode.  49kms later I climbed Comox Hill and was grinning as I cruised to the finish.  I’ll definitely be back for 2014.”

20130818-DPRO2555Co-owner of Simon’s Cycles, Patti Fletcher, shares, “We had so much fun we’re doing it again. The organizing committee is working hard to confirm event details for this year’s ride, we plan to keep the routes the same. We know that people are scheduling their summer cycling events now and we want the 2014 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride to be the part of those plans. We have also been able to confirm the training rides will be back this year – they are starting soon and open to all those registered for the ride.”

To view the 2013 ride video visit: www.yanacomoxvalley.com/events or for more information drop by Simon’s on Comox Avenue.

Photography Credit: DaveProtheroPhotography.com

YANA Week in the Schools!

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IMG_0780YANA Week in the Schools is set for next week, May 4 – 9, 2014. The week will kick-off with Croquet for YANA on Sunday, May 4th at Highland Secondary School from noon until 3pm.  Many schools plan events during the week that raise awareness and funds for YANA, though many other schools support YANA at other times of the year. Building a partnership between YANA and our local schools provides an opportunity to celebrate kids helping kids, to teach social responsibility and to inform staff and students about how YANA uses raised funds to help local families.

Some of the events scheduled to celebrate YANA week include:

  • Mark Isfeld’s Zumba for YANA on April 27th
  • A bake sale at Highland on May 1st
  • Croquet for YANA at Highland on May 4th
  • A garage sale at Miracle Beach Elementary on May 7th
  • A coin drive and bake sale at Puntledge Elementary on May 7th
  • The next monthly Hat Day at Valley View on May 9th (they have raised $400 already from previous months – well done!)
  • Principal (Kyle Timms) and teacher (Heather Freeland) from Courtenay Elementary are having their heads shaved for donations to YANA at an assembly on May 9th (photo below)
  • Aspen Park Elementary’s Hat Day on May 13th
  • Royston Elementary’s awareness assembly on May 14th
  • Queneesh Elementary’s skip-a-thon for YANA on May 15th
  • Vanier is having an Advisory Group Coin Drive and BBQ culminating on May 29th
  • Cumberland Elementary will be hosting a fun fair called Village Fest on June 4th

A heart-felt thank you to all of the staff and students that are participating in YANA Week in the Schools and to the schools who support YANA at other times of the year.

Check out the article in the Echo about Croquet for YANA.

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Kids’ Clutter Sale on April 26th

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The Comox Valley Kids’ Clutter next sale is on Saturday, April 26th from 9am to 12pm at the Courtenay Legion on Cliffe Avenue.  The sale offers local families the opportunity to either buy and/or sell gently used children’s clothing, toys and equipment. Learn more about the Kids’ Clutter Sale here.

This semi-annual event has grown over the years and has been run by Chelsey Newton. Chelsey has supported local charities, such as YANA by donating partial proceeds from the sale. Recently, Newton chose to donate the Kids’ Clutter Sale to YANA, so for the first time, this will be the YANA Kids’ Clutter Sale.  “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to run this  semi-annual event for our community as a fundraiser for YANA. Chelsey has worked so hard at making this a successful event over the years and we are so grateful for her generous donation,” states YANA President, Judy Cryer.

Judy Chelsey PhotoThe Kids’ Clutter Sale makes selling items much easier and also offers the opportunity to buy well priced and gently used items for children. There are hundreds of items to choose from and items often disappear quickly at this popular sale. Partial proceeds from the sale are returned to the sellers and the balance will help YANA with the work we do for families.

Photo: Chelsey Newton and her parents (the Nelsons) pass on Kids’ Clutter to YANA, represented by Judy Cryer, President.

Central Builders’ Hosting Ladies Night in May

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Once again, Central Builders’ is supporting YANA by hosting Ladies Night. The date is set for May 1 from 6:00 – 9:00pm. Tickets are on sale in advance and the evening promises to include lots of learning, laughter and skill building.
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Easter Eggstravaganza on Monday, April 21

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Investors Group has teamed up with the Town of Comox and Quality Foods to host an Easter Eggstravaganza on April 21st at Comox Marina Park. An Easter egg hunt starts at noon (sharp) and a BBQ and activities by donation will follow. All proceeds will be donated to YANA. See the poster below for more details.

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Community Spirit Soars At Dinner & Auction

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Sincere gratitude to the “hundreds of hearts” that contributed to the YANA Dinner & Auction held Friday, February 28th. Together we raised $63,800 for local families who need to leave the Comox Valley for medical treatment.

It was a night filled with community spirit thanks to numerous volunteers, joyful guests, generous donors and caring sponsors. A huge shout out to the volunteer planning committee (Loretta Semple, Sarah Stromquist, Alana Pearson, Harmony Dyck, Lesley Hunter, Judy Cryer, Kelly Rusk, Kris Johnson and Marcie Dumais), auctioneer Dave Stevens, Karen McKinnon, Ron Pogue, Bob Wells, Carl Tessmann and Comox Taxi. Many thanks to Tria Fine Catering, All-In-One Party Rentals, Four Frames Photo Booth and Tick-It for providing exceptional service at discounted rates. We live in a community that cares about kids!

Read what the Comox Valley Record has to say about the 2014 Dinner & Auction.

2014 Dinner & Auction Photo Gallery

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Photographer Ron Pogue captured the magic of the evening. Scroll through the gallery below to see some of the images from the event and see more pictures here.

Generous Donation Made By Courtenay Family Chiropractic

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In 2011, Courtenay Family Chiropractic started a fund raising campaign to help support YANA. Early in 2014, they decided they should tally up the funds and make the donation happen. Much to their surprise, and the grateful delight of YANA, the total was an impressive $10,130.  

Courtenay Chiro Cheque2 cropThe entire team at Courtenay Family Chiropractic is extremely proud to be able to make this donation. Dr. Marnie Grant and Dr. Ken Heinrich (right) are presenting the cheque to YANA (Kris Johnson, left) on behalf of their team. Thank you so much for this incredible donation, it will support so many of the families who need to leave the Comox Valley for their child’s medical needs.

Save the Date for the Dinner & Auction

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The 2014 YANA Dinner & Auction is on Friday, February 28th at the Florence Filberg in Courtenay.

Tickets are $60 each and will be sold online starting Saturday, January 18th at 8:00 a.m.

Mark it on your calendars and join us for the fun!

Cycling ‘fast-fast’ for Tori on Sunday

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Jeff Mosher knows this Sunday’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is not a race, but he’ll be going “fast-fast” none-the-less. For he’s seen first hand the difference YANA makes to Comox Valley families.

“In July of 2007 my wife and I received exciting news from our close friends Shayne and Erin Boelk that they were expecting twins,” said Mosher. Little did he know that one of their daughters would inspire him to ride faster and raise more than $800 for the Comox Valley charity.

Tori Boelk was born November 29, 2007 at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with a heart condition. Her sister Lara never made it, succumbing to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome during Erin’s 28th week of pregnancy.Tori required open-heart surgery four days after she was born, spending her first year in hospital where she received a tracheotomy, ventilator, and a second heart surgery. She will require three more surgeries as she grows.

YANA financially assisted her family’s stay in Vancouver for the first 15 months of her life, allowing her family to focus on Tori. YANA has already committed to additional support for Tori’s numerous follow-up procedures in the years to come.

Now five, going on six, Tori is back at home in Courtenay where she is fiercely independent and rapidly growing out of a continuous feeding tube and a portable vent.

“This doesn’t hold her back,” said Mosher. “Her powered wheelchair should only go one speed according to her – “fast-fast!” – because slow is too boring.

“When Simon’s Cycles announced they were hosting the 2013 YANA road ride it was a hands down choice for me. What a great opportunity to return the support YANA gave to my friends by getting pledges for YANA to go ‘fast-fast’ on the 100 km ride because slow is too boring.”

Mosher will be one of more than 100 cyclists taking part in this year’s longest leg of the YANA Ride – a 100 kilometre route – but there will be many more riders of all ages peddling shorter distances.To donate and help Jeff’s ride for Tori – or any of the other participants – visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com, click the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride banner, and click ‘pledge a participant’. Find and click the name of one you wish to support, such as Mosher, to offer sponsorship. Tori’s story is available at the same website, under ‘Stories’. Find out more about the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride or to register to take part, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com.

© Comox Valley Echo