General News

Christmas Crackers on sale NOW!

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Thank you so much to the many volunteers who came together to make our YANA Christmas Crackers! They are available for $3.00 each throughout the Comox Valley. Click here to find out where you can get yours.

New program for YANA families

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We are pleased to be launching a special program for YANA families called YANA Connects. YANA Connects is an opportunity for YANA families to connect online through a private Facebook group. The program also offers families opportunities to gather for shared learning around various topics of interest. It is for parents, or primary caregivers, of a YANA child, past or present.

If you are a primary caregiver of a YANA child, please join us for the first gathering featuring guest speaker Dr. Carolyn Nesbitt, Registered Psychologist. She will address topics relating to coping, stress and anxiety and how it affects relationships with others and with ourselves. Coffee, tea and snacks will be served. The evening is complimentary for YANA families. YANA will provide funding support for babysitting if needed in order to attend.

Filberg Centre Conference Hall (upstairs)
411 Anderton Ave, Courtenay
Wednesday November 7, 2018
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Please RSVP to yanaconnects@yanacomoxvalley.com. If babysitting support is required, please let us know.

Click here for more information.

Comox Valley gives back to the community

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Oct 23, 2018

This past spring, Comox Valley’s Gladstone Brewing Co. partnered once again with Brad Harris, a full-time family physician by day and self-taught brewer by night (and owner of the Royston Nano Brewery) for the brew-based fundraiser that resulted in production of Love Potion NEVI (North East Vancouver Island) IPA. Now that final sales have been tallied, more than $5,500 of Gladstone’s proceeds from the beer were split between You Are Not Alone (YANA) Comox Valley and BC Children’s Hospital Oncology – causes close to the hearts of the brewers. Pictured, YANA president Kelly Rusk, Gladstone Brewing Co. marketing manager Marissa Johnson, Royston Nano Brewing brewmaster Brad Harris, YANA community relations co-ordinator Deanne McRae, Gladstone Brewing Co. owner Daniel Sharratt, YANA executive director Kelly Barnie.

Sunnydale Golf and Country Club’s annual Sunnydale Men’s Tillicum Open doubled as a fundraiser for YANA this year.. Congratulations to Jordan Rallison for defending his Champions title and to Gavin Haigh for shooting a career round and capturing the Low Net title. As a result of the efforts by Rob Speer Golf and the Sunnydale Men’s Club, the Tillicum Committee is very happy to be able to donate $1000.00 to YANA (You Are Not Alone) to aid in all the great work the non-profit does in the Comox Valley. We would also like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make the tournament a success.

Sweet songs by Sweet SantaFe for First Tuesday fundraiser – Oct 2018

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – Sept 29, 2018

The next 1st Tuesday Fundraisers sponsored by the Mex Pub on Oct. 2 will feature Sweet SantaFe, Michel Rivero and Christine Baxter, presenting The Songs of Leonard Cohen in support of You Are Not Alone (YANA).

Sweet SantaFe’s incendiary spark began during a Spanish/English choral music cultural exchange in Havana Cuba where Cuban born Michel Rivero Mordoch and southern Alberta songwriter Penelope Christine Baxter first met.

Sweet SantaFe has infectious Cuban Trova style rhythms that get you up and dancing, and cinematographic lyrical scenes that paint the most vivid landscapes of life. Sweet SantaFe’s distinct style has been crafted from influences as diverse as Alison Krauss, and Sarah McLachlan, to Pablo Milanes, and Tom Jobim. This unlikely pairing, conceived in the fishing district of Santa Fe, Havana, Cuba evolved as the two seasoned songwriters listened and learned to speak each other’s language through song.

In 2016 Sweet SantaFe moved from Havana, Cuba to Comox, where they began sharing their music with Canadian audiences.

The evening begins with a warmup set by hosts Coast to Coast at 7:30 p.m.

YANA is a local non-profit society that 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.

YANA was founded in 1986 by Sandra Williams after her family experienced the financial and emotional devastation of having a very sick child who required treatment at Children’s Hospital for many months in Vancouver.

The organization continues to ensure 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. It also provides financial support so families can stay focused on the health and wellness of their child.

YANA maintains four fully furnished apartments within walking distance of Children’s Hospital and also assists with finding and funding accommodation in alternate treatment destinations. In addition to providing accommodation, the organization provides a daily, weekly or monthly allotment of funds to help with costs of travel, food, parking and unexpected expenses.

They also provide the Comox Valley Hospital with funds to make available to local families who have a child or an expecting mother who requires emergency transfer to another hospital. To access service YANA ensures a simple, confidential and supportive process that starts with a phone call, an email or a visit to the office.

The Comox Valley Foodbank Society, (CVFS) a regular at the event, will be there to accept food donations for families in the valley who are in need.

YANA wins thanks to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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A huge thank-you to the 600 cyclists, 175 volunteers, and to all donors and sponsors who contributed to the 2018 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. Together we raised $70,000 which will go to Comox Valley families with children who need medical care away from home. Click here for a full look at all contributors. Photo credits: Gordon Ross Photography

YANA Ride cruises past fundraising goal

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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.

Why we ride for YANA

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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
Retired Physician

Dr. Don Blacklock and his family love cycling, they ride in this event to support the cause his late wife Sharon advocated for as she was the family physician of YANA’s Founder.

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.”

Shannon Colthorpe
Longtime YANA Supporter

Shannon Colthorpe has brought her enthusiasm to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride for many years and knows the value YANA’s support provides to Comox Valley families.

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
Emergency Physician

Dr. Phil Luke enjoys supporting the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride because he knows the funds will help those he has seen struggle throughout his career. Seen here with his wife, Julia Loo at last year’s ride.

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.”

Click here for more information, to make a pledge or to register for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.

Comox Valley philanthropists share the wealth

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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.

~ The Comox Valley Record

Introducing our new Executive Director and staff team

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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!

Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride Early Registration Deadline July 16

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Join us for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on Sunday, August 19. Cyclists of all ages and abilities can take part in this fun and challenging ride through the beautiful Comox Valley. Routes of varying distances ensure everyone can participate. There is a 25km, 50km and a 100km loop as well as a 6km family route that allows riders of all ages to cycle together. For little ones not yet using pedals we will be hosting a special Little Wheelers activity in the park. Register before July 16 and receive a commemorative shirt courtesy of Dr. Andreas Conradi.

Click here for more information, to register or to pledge a cyclist.  Bikes will keep us together!