We love Gaglardi Academy! Thank you so much for thinking of us at YANA. Well done!
By Jolene Rudisuela with photographs from Sam Patterson, originally published in the Comox Valley Record on August 20, 2018
Six hundred cyclists hit the pavement on Sunday, Aug. 19 for the sixth annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.
At their last count, the ride has once again surpassed You Are Not Alone’s fundraising goal of $50,000, but YANA executive director Marcie Dumais said the total is still likely to go up.
“At this point we’re at $58,000 which is so wonderful – we’re just thrilled,” she said. “But I suspect once we tally in those funds [that came in at the event]… we could be getting into close to last year’s total which was $62,000.”
The sold-out ride catered to all ages with a 25 kilometre, 50 km or 100 km ride. There was also a 6 km family route and a Little Wheelers activity for younger kids.
Each route began and ended at the Comox Marina Park.
“It’s a real tangible spirit when they come through the finish line,” said Dumais. “There’s that proud feeling of accomplishment that’s paired with doing something good for the community.”
According to Dumais, YANA would not exist without help from the community and it is events like this that allow the organization to continue supporting families in need. The funds raised go directly to providing accommodations and monetary aid to families and pregnant women who need to travel for medical reasons.
Some children and families who have been helped by YANA were at the finish line on Saturday, cheering on cyclists as they finished their race, and giving out medals to all the riders.
“They do that because they want to show their gratitude as well, so that makes it really special,” said Dumais.
The ride was put on thanks to the help of 175 volunteers who did everything from serving food, directing traffic, and even entertaining on stage. Dumais said though they get new helpers every year, over half their volunteers keep coming back.
“Obviously [the ride is] important for the fundraising, but the community spirit that surrounds the event is really what YANA’s all about,” said Dumais.
According to its website, the organization needs to raise approximately $312,000 each year to continue supporting families. In the past six years, the ride has raised over a quarter of a million dollars.
By Spencer Anderson, originally published in the Comox Valley Record on August 9, 2018
For 32 years, You Are Not Alone (YANA) has been there for Comox Valley families faced with having to travel outside the community to receive medical treatment for their child or pregnancy.
YANA was founded by Sandra Williams, whose family bore the full financial and emotional burden of leaving town to receive care for their daughter Roberta.
“Events like the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride are what makes it all possible. The cyclists, volunteers and sponsors help us raise thousands of dollars. All the funds enable us to provide accommodation for families, as well as help with costs of travel, food, parking and unexpected expenses,” explains Marcie Dumais, YANA’s Executive Director.
The annual event takes place Sunday, August 19 and allows riders to take part in a 25 kilometre, 50 km and 100 km loop, as well as a six km family route.
This year, we spoke to longtime participants who have never used the service themselves and asked them why they still take part after all these years.
Dr. Don Blacklock
Don’s wife Sharon Blacklock was one of the first female physicians in the Comox Valley and was the Williams’ family doctor.
Sharon was also a prominent community worker and volunteer, serving as medical director of the Cumberland Child Development Centre and winning Canadian Family Physician of the Year in 1993.
An early and vocal supporter of YANA, Don said Sharon saw the need for out-of-town supports for families living in a small community.
“I think it’s just a great thing for a small place to do,” Don said. “We’re not as little anymore, but this was revolutionary. As far as I know, it’s the first of its kind in Canada.”
Sharon died in 1997, but Don said his wife’s passion for supporting the important work that was going on in the community set her apart.
“That’s why YANA does well – it has credibility and they follow through.”
Longtime YANA Supporter
Shannon has fortunately never had to use YANA’s services – but two friends have.
One friend knew through her pregnancy that she was going to need help, while the second didn’t know until after she gave birth.
“Seeing two of my friends being able to focus on their babies getting better rather than worry about travel and accommodation costs showed me the importance of YANA. There’s a real community network to get you what you need when you need it,” she said.
Shannon takes part in the 50 km ride almost every year and always enjoys cheering on the 100 km riders as they take off. Taking part with people from every age and sharing a feeling of accomplishment after the event is also a highlight.
“Everyone’s exhausted and starving and hot, but we’ve all done it and it’s nice to sit on the grass together,” she said.
Dr. Phil Luke
Phil knows all too well how many families find themselves having to leave home to access care for their children elsewhere. Many patients are babies who are born premature and have to be flown out of the Valley for intensive neonatal care.
“Twenty years of emergency medicine and I’ve seen all sorts of people who have had to rely on YANA,” he said.
Although the Comox Valley now has a new hospital, the need for YANA is no less than 10 years ago, Phil says.
The YANA Ride stands alone as a great community occasion powered by volunteers – whom Phil calls “the true heroes.”
“There’s this whole emotion of a big ride – it’s a fabulous event,” he said.
“It’s what motivates an average joe like me. There’s a huge personal reward to it.”
Royston Elementary held art afternoons once a week for the month of May with a guest artist in most classrooms. Students showcased their work at an Art Show and Auction held in June. From the proceeds of the sale, a cheque for $750 has been issued to YANA. We give a special thank you to Dave Stevens, our guest auctioneer, and all our classroom artists for sharing their time and talents with us.
Look at the team we are building to ensure local families continue to receive support from their community when they need it most! Left to right: Dennyse Harris (Family Services), Kelly Barnie (Incoming Executive Director, August), Deanne McRae (Community Relations Coordinator), Joan McCaughey (Family Services) and Marcie Dumais (Outgoing Executive Director, September). Kelly Barnie brings a long history of work in non-profit leadership and community service to the team and we are thrilled that she will be our Executive Director come September. Feeling grateful and excited!
A grade 7 student thought of YANA and donated homemade colouring books leftover from her school entrepreneur project. We will offer them to YANA kids. High fives to you!
Our gratitude to Cedar Grove Roofing Supply who donated funds to YANA raised through a charity drive.
The Kusam Klimb is an annual event in Sayward, BC. The cheeky team that participated, known as Team “We Prefer Being On Top,” selected YANA as their charity of choice. Led by team captain Jennifer H, this team deserves to hear thanks all the way to the mountain tops! Thank you!
Country Canine Care thought of us during their grand opening celebrations. They provided YANA with the opportunity to raise awareness and collect donations. Bark! Woof! P.S. That’s thanks in dog.
This is one of those cases of humanity for the win! Thank you to our local RCMP. A missing wallet was found and an reward was offered. The kind soul who found it didn’t want the money and asked our local RCMP to donate it to a charity instead. We’re grateful they chose YANA!