While the Williams family was enjoying a ball game their four-year-old daughter, Roberta, became critically ill and had to be airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. A diagnosis of congenital heart failure with severe complications changed the family’s life in an instant.
Sandra Williams stayed in Vancouver with her young daughter for months at a time. Roberta’s father stayed behind working and managing a household with three other children, while travelling to Vancouver whenever he could. The financial and emotional costs, during this time, were devastating to the Williams family.
Drawing from their own experiences, and after meeting other families in the same position from all over the province, the Williams family made a commitment to our community. They committed to the ideal that no family should be alone when faced with leaving their community for medical treatment of a child.
YANA (You Are Not Alone) was founded in 1986. This grass roots organization had its humble beginnings operating out of the Williams’ home and helping one family at a time. Sandra, her friends, and her family were determined to realize the vision of keeping families together during their most difficult times.
YANA now operates out of its office on Fitzgerald Avenue in Courtenay’s downtown core. We help children and pregnant mothers who reside in School District 71 and who need to travel outside our community for medical care. We provide accommodation and direct funding to help with expenses. To date, this unique non-profit organization has funded thousands of trips for medical treatment in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and other locations.
Our goal is to ensure our community can access the best medical care for their children and to keep Comox Valley families together during stressful times.
YANA’s core belief remains unchanged; when a child is ill the whole family needs care. The Comox Valley has shared that belief for 28 years and continues to support YANA and the families in our community who access our services.
Sandra Williams, founder of YANA, passed away in 2009. She left a legacy of giving, compassion, and caring that has become part of the Comox Valley culture. We are proud to continue her work to ensure you are not alone.
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.
Loretta 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.
Loretta 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.
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.
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.
Comox Fire Department provided a huge pledge to support YANA families and to honor cyclist and committee volunteer, Kelly Rusk. Thanks for your important contribution to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride and your support throughout the year.
Sweet Sophie had a fiver birthday party with proceeds to YANA this summer. We love this gal and her big heart!
Comox Valley Dodge hosts monthly barbeques with proceeds to YANA. Awesome!
Thanks to Leanne Zdebiak-Eni from Studio IPF, DJ em.ash and all participants for raising the roof for YANA at Bellyfit Live. We’re grateful for your community spirit and generosity.
Our friends at HMCS Quadra donate monies raised by cadets each summer. We were thrilled to attend the cadet graduation ceremony and receive such a generous gift.
A huge thank you to all cyclists, volunteers, donors and sponsors! We are so grateful for everyone’s contribution. The final fundraising total came in at over $37,000 with 405 cyclists and over 100 volunteers. Fantastic!
Thank you to all the potters that donate bowls to the Potter’s Place for their annual Chilli Bowl event held during Market Days. A big thank you to organizers, sponsors and participants.