YANA celebrating its 30th annual Big Love Benefit Feb. 28

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Published by Comox Valley Record – Jan. 17, 2020

“The extra touches that the committee has added this year are going to knock some socks off.”

“VIP” table bidding winner Ronni Lister shows YANA Big BIG love at the 2019 gala! Photo credit: Ali Roddam.

YANA is set to host the 2020 Big Love Benefit, an annual gala dinner and auction in support of local children and families.

It all started with YANA’s founder Sandra Williams’ brilliant idea of writing to celebrities for signed donations and auctioning them off.

Thirty years later, the gala event has become the hottest ticket in town that now raises in excess of $100,000 for YANA’s accommodation and family funding programs.

Tickets for the event are available online only through on Sunday January 19th at 10:00am sharp.

“The 2019 event sold out in less than a minute, so we’re encouraging people to set their alarms and keep their clicking and typing fingers warmed up and ready,” said You Are Not Alone Executive Director Kelly Barnie.

Event attendees will fill the Florence Filberg Centre on February 28th, and will be treated to a magical night.

The highlights of the evening include a mouth-watering dinner by Tria Fine Catering, a touching photo slide show presentation showcasing a courageous YANA family through the eyes and lens of the multi-talented Karen McKinnon, and a rousing live auction led by the legendary Dave Stevens.

Veteran YANA volunteer, current board member, and lead auction volunteer Brenda Hunt hints that a few other surprises are in store for the 2020 event as well.

“The extra touches that the committee has added this year are going to knock some socks off,” said Hunt.

The Gala night on February 28th is the signature event of the Big Love Benefit fundraiser, but it’s only one of the ways that supporters in the Comox Valley and beyond can show their love for local families.

“We helped families with almost 600 medical trips last year, the majority requiring overnight stays,” noted Barnie. “The rising costs and limited availability of accommodations put even more pressure on our resources than ever before. We’re counting on support for our Big Love Online Auction and our Westjet Raffle to make sure we can meet the needs of our families.”

The Online Auction kicks off January 19th and features gorgeous artwork, one of a kind collectibles, and valuable gift certificates.

“There are even 4 pairs of tickets for the Feb 28 gala night up for grabs on the online auction,” notes Hunt. “The online auction closes on Feb. 6 at 9:00pm, so bid early, bid often, and bid big.”

YANA volunteers will also be selling raffle tickets for a Westjet “Gift of Flight” starting Feb 6.

The winning ticket holder will receive one roundtrip flight for two guests to any regularly scheduled WestJet destination. Tickets are $20 each and chances of winning are excellent with only 750 tickets printed.

YANA’s purpose is to improve access to healthcare by providing travel funding and accommodation for any Comox Valley family with a child or a pregnant mother needing medical care away from home. YANA maintains four furnished apartments near BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and also provides accommodation in Victoria, Nanaimo, and in other treatment locations.

Buy gala tickets, bid on the Big Love Online Auction and order Westjet Raffle tickets at For more information, and to donate or volunteer, email or call 250-871-0343.

Congratulations 2019 Christmas Crackers Ring Winner – Teresa Laws!

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The ring, and the whole story, were a perfect fit for this year’s winner of the YANA Christmas Crackers grand prize.

Longtime Island resident Teresa Laws and her husband had lived in both Gold River and Saltair before making their home in the Comox Valley about 2 years ago. As newcomers to the community, they had heard amazing stories of the help and support YANA provides to local families. When Teresa heard the account of how YANA had helped her own daughter’s friend when they were in need, Teresa knew for sure she wanted to help support YANA however she could.

The notice of the YANA Christmas Crackers going on sale went out, and Teresa excitedly made a trip to 40 Knots Winery to pick 20 crackers up for their family’s dinner. She ended up arriving before the delivery of the crackers had even made it there yet, so she asked them to put some on hold for her. In the two days until she went back in to pick them up, she started talking to friends and family about what an awesome idea the Christmas Crackers were, and ended up putting another 25 on hold to pick up for others too.
Teresa and her family gathered to share a beautiful meal and a wonderful time together, and as the excitement with everyone opening their crackers started to build, Teresa’s son-in-law decided to record the fun.

What an awesome AWESOME moment they captured!!

When Teresa came in to pick up her beautiful new ring, it became even more clear that this win was meant to be. Not only is the gorgeous centre stone ruby her birthstone, but the ring was a perfect fit!

Congratulations Teresa, and THANK YOU for your support!  

Thank you as well to our sponsors Paul Ardron and Kirk Campbell from IG Wealth Management, our volunteer campaign coordinator Robbie Rusk, and to every purchaser, seller, donor, and crafter who made this fundraiser possible.  Together, you have raised over $15,000.00 for YANA’s accommodation and family funding programs that help local families when they need it most. 

Comox Fire Rescue recycling trees for YANA

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Originally published by – Dec. 9, 2019

Comox Fire Rescue is not only recycling your Christmas trees but also raising money for a local charity.

Comox Firefighters will host their annual Christmas Tree recycling project on January 4th and 5th with 100 percent of the proceeds going to YANA (You Are Not Alone).

YANA provides accommodation and funding to Comox Valley families who need to travel outside the community for medical treatment for a child under 19 or for a pregnant mother.

Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner says the initiative is a win/win for everyone.

“We run (the trees) through a chipper and we recycle those malts into the parks department here in Comox and then we ask for people to donate cash which goes 100 percent to our local charity YANA,” said Schreiner.

He added that it’s also a great way to make sure the trees get taken care of responsibly.

“In years past some people would burn them or leave them outside their homes so this is a good effective way to get rid of that product.”

You can donate your tree by dropping it off at the Comox Fire Rescue station during the first week of January, or by calling the department to schedule a pickup.

Last year, the Christmas Tree recycling project raised more than $4500.

Who just turned 95?  Central Builders! And to celebrate they held an Anniversary BBQ celebration, donating all proceeds to YANA.  No wonder this charitable business has been around so long! Much appreciation! 

There are some very generous folks at Boston Pizza Courtenay we’d like to thank.  They have raised money for charity for the past year and designated YANA as the recipient of their funds.  Molte Grazie BP!

Shout out to the Bible study group at the Evangelical Free Church of Canada for their recent donation to YANA.  Your thoughtfulness is so appreciated by YANA and by the Comox Valley families you support! 

A delicious, fun filled thank you to the students at Miracle Beach Elementary for also collecting donations for YANA at their annual baked goods/toys/books sale. Kids helping kids -we love it!

Hey Delilah!  Thank you SO much for donating your Birthday money to YANA.  You have a generous heart. Comox Valley families who are served by YANA thank you too!

Sending huge appreciation to the kind folks at St. Michael’s All Angels Protestant Chapel for donating to YANA on a regular basis.  Your ongoing support means a lot to us!

5000 YANA Christmas Crackers on sale NOW

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5000 lovingly handcrafted YANA Christmas Crackers are on sale now throughout the Comox Valley. Find prices, retail locations and grand prize info here: