General News

Online Auction including 8 tickets to SOLD OUT gala is on NOW

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YANA Online Auction and Bidding Info











From Jan 19 to February 6 (9pm), the whole community can participate in Big Love through the YANA Online Auction. The online auction includes 4 pairs of coveted tickets to the sold out Big Love Gala night! Now everyone can see our community’s generosity, find cool stuff and be part of the BIG LOVE needed to support local families. Get started with the quick registration, then bid early, bid often, and bid big!
Thank you for supporting YANA Big Love!

Find the online auction here:

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.

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:

Christmas Cracker Drop-In Sessions Complete

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HUGE thanks to every volunteer who has come to our drop-in Christmas Cracker crafting sessions and group bookings!

The Christmas Crackers are almost complete, so DROP-IN SESSIONS ARE CANCELLED for the remaining dates (November 1, 4, 6 and 8).

Group bookings will continue, however, once this year’s crackers are done, groups will be asked to assist with preparation tasks (measuring, cutting, packaging etc) for next year’s fundraiser.

For information about prizes and about where to buy YANA Christmas Crackers, please see the Christmas Crackers Event Page

Crafting Christmas Crackers for YANA

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The crafting of 5000 Christmas Crackers for YANA has begun! We are looking for eagle-eyed, nimble-fingered adult volunteers to help create YANA Christmas Crackers for this annual fundraising tradition.

Check out this tutorial video by our lead cracker creator Robbie. Does this look like something you’d be able to do? Would you love to help raise money in support of YANA’s accommodation and travel funding programs for Comox Valley families?

See the drop in and private booking times on the Christmas Crackers Event Page, and join the YANA Christmas Crackers Volunteer Crafters Team!


YANA Ride in Comox raises thousands for families with medical needs

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record –Aug 19, 2019

Talia Ruttan and mom Kelsey (left) and Autumn Helme and mom Melissa get ready to hand out water bottles for YANA riders at the finish line. Photo by Mike Chouinard.

In its seventh year, the event attracted the maximum 600 riders

It’s got a new name, but it’s still raising money for families needing medical treatments.

The Comox Bike Company YANA (You Are Not Alone) Ride once again attracted a full slate of bike riders on Sunday, Aug. 18, with riders starting at different times based on different course lengths starting at Comox Marina Park.

“This is the seventh year for the ride as it exists,” says executive director Kelly Barnie says. “It used to be the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. The guys from the shop purchased the shop, and it is the Comox Bike Company YANA Ride now.”

The lengths were 100-km, 50-km and 25-km as well as a 6-km Family Ride, with generally a little over 125 on up to 200 riders for each route.

“We have 600 riders. That’s always our maximum,” says Barnie, adding the ride filled up a little over a week before the deadline this year.

RELATED STORY: YANA Ride set to roll in Comox

YANA raises money for Comox Valley families with children under 19 or with a pregnant mother needing to travel out of town for medical treatment.

“YANA paid for me to live in Victoria with my daughter for three months,” says mom Kelsey Ruttan. “They kind of saved our bacon. It enabled us to stay with her.”

Similarly, Melissa Helme has to take her daughter to go to Port Alberni for weekly medical visits.

“It helps get us there and back each week,” she says.

Both moms and their daughters, Talia Ruttan and Autumn Helme, were among the “ambassadors” greeting riders at the finish line in Comox Marina Park on Sunday.

Another new feature this year is the ambassadors hand out YANA Ride water bottles to the participants instead of medals, as in the past.

Both Ruttan and Helme say the YANA Ride and the support it receives are a sign of how much the Comox Valley gets behind the event.

“It just shows how much the community cares about people’s kids,” says Helme.

The official goal for YANA is $50,000, but the hope was to raise as much as $80,000. As of Tuesday, organizers came up with a final tally, and in the end, they did reach their goal of $80,000.

Last year, the ride raised about $70,000, and as of ride day this year the total was approaching that. Barnie said the ride’s importance is clear by summing up how much this fundraising means to the organization.

“That pays for about half the total expenses we give families,” she says.

“It’s a big, big part of our budget for families for the year.”

You don’t have to ride to support the Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Aug. 10, 2019


Lisa Wilcox is getting ready to embark on her fourth Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride on Aug. 18, gearing up and training to undertake her biggest challenge yet: a 100 km scenic route around the Comox Valley.

The YANA Ride has become an annual community tradition for many families, and is an indispensable fundraising event for YANA, bringing in thousands of dollars each year to provide financial relief of travel and accommodation expenses for pregnant women and families whose children require medical support outside of the community.

Wilcox’s connection to YANA began over a decade ago when her newborn daughter needed care at BC Children’s Hospital. A social worker at the hospital mentioned the support she could receive through YANA, and Wilcox was moved by the generosity of the organization and her community.

Wilcox was able to rely on family support during their stay, but just knowing the option was available brought her peace of mind during a difficult time.

“It was such a relief to know that if I did need something, I could go back and ask them for help.”

CVRD Area B director Arzeena Hamir is a longtime friend of Wilcox. The two met one another through a food subscription program run by Hamir’s family-run business, Amara Farm. It was a simple Facebook post made by Wilcox seeking pledges for this year’s ride that led Hamir to get behind a dear friend and an important cause.

“Being a farmer, the timing of the ride just doesn’t work for us, so I’m super happy to support people who take on the challenge. She’s riding on my behalf too. She’s been so supportive of me and the farm, it’s a way to give back.”

Wilcox was one of the top five fundraisers for last year’s event, and said she did little more than ask for pledges on Facebook and email a few colleagues, noting that it doesn’t take much to rally support for a cause that the community truly values. And, fundraising has its perks: riders who raise $50 will receive an exclusive YANA Ride hat, and for every $100 raised will be entered in a draw to win two return tickets for travel to any Air Canada scheduled destination in North America. This year, a generous donor has stepped up. All pledges made between Aug. 1-15 will be matched up to $5,000. Pledges can be made by going to and clicking the blue “Register – Pledge – More Info” button. When donors tag the rider they sponsored on YANA’s Facebook post, their donation will be doubled.

The opportunity to participate and donate carries on after the ride is done with a ‘Party at the Park’ at Marina Park. The whole community is invited to join in celebrating riders at the finish line, and can support YANA by donating on site, entering the 50/50 draws, enjoying the beer garden, or purchasing a T-shirt, hat, socks or other unique YANA gear at the merchandise tent. There will be live entertainment throughout the day and a Little Wheelers event for the youngest of riders. There’s something for everyone, and you’re guaranteed to see a familiar face.

“Reach out to a rider that you know and support them,” said Hamir. “Not all of us can be on the ride, so here’s your chance to now participate in supporting an organization that is so critical to the values and the fabric of the Comox Valley.”

The YANA Ride takes place Sunday, Aug. 18. For more information, to donate, or to register for the ride, visit


Anonymous donor to match pledges made to YANA Ride participants from Aug 1-15

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Aug. 1, 2019


The Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride is one of the biggest fundraising events of the year for YANA. The need for YANA travel and accommodation funding continues to increase, with YANA providing support for more than 500 medical trips for Comox Valley families each year.

Thanks to an anonymous donor who has stepped up to support this fundraiser in a big way, for the first time ever, your donations to riders participating in the event will go twice as far.

Between 9 a.m. Aug. 1 and 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15, make a pledge to a rider and tag them on YANA’s Facebook Post, and your donation will be matched by an incredibly generous YANA champion, up to $5,000!

The Comox Bike Company YANA Ride, taking place Aug. 18, is a fun and challenging ride through the beautiful Comox Valley. There is a 25-km, 50-km and a 100-km loop as well as a 6-km family route that allows riders of all ages to cycle together.