Riders, donors, sponsors, volunteers, YANA friends and supporters, what an honour and privilege it was to reunite together again for YANA families. This year was all about transitioning gracefully and coming back stronger than ever, and what a comeback it was!
Together, we raised $86,500 to help Comox Valley families with children or pregnant moms who need medical care away from home. Absolutely amazing!!
Thank you to every single person that rode, fundraised, made a contribution and had a hand in making the 2022 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride a massive success.
Check out this recap of the 2022 event, mark your calendars and start making plans for your YANA Ride in August 2023. We can’t wait to join together again at the Party in the Park on Sunday, August 20, 2023!
There is no shortage of heart-filling stories about the love surrounding YANA families through the YANA Ride fundraising, but this one is a doozy!
Meet Sherri Moran.
Sherri is this year‘s Comox Bike Company YANA Ride 50-50 winner!! But far more importantly, Sherri is a very proud grandma to Onyx Cederlof. You may remember Onyx and his parents Meaghan and Josh from their beautiful post around the time of the YANA Ride last year.
With gratitude forever in her heart for how YANA supported her baby grandson and his parents while Onyx was in the Nanaimo NICU for almost a month, Sherri made a generous donation towards the 2022 YANA Ride. When she realized she wouldn’t be able to make it to the Party in the Park on Sunday as she had planned, she decided to help the fundraising efforts out a bit more by purchasing 50/50 tickets as well…..and wait until you hear how else Sherri has decided to help!
Upon receiving the phone call that she was this year’s 50/50 winner and hearing that she would be receiving a $2607.50 prize, only a few seconds of shock and excitement passed before Sherri let Kelly from YANA know what her plans were for the money, and exactly why she’d made that decision. Sherri is donating $1607.50 back to YANA, and the $1000.00 she’s receiving is going into education savings for little Onyx. Through misty eyes and cracking voices on both ends of the phone call, Sherri explained how she was honoured to give back to the organization that had helped her family when they needed it most, and that contributing to Onyx’s bright future ahead seemed like the perfect way to spend her windfall.
Thank you for your incredible support Sherri and for sharing this beautiful story of the circle of love and generosity surrounding YANA and the families we serve!
Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, August 11th 2022.
By Lina Konovalov
Last week, Beckett Williamson was introduced as one of the youngest riders ever for the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride annual fundraiser. “One of the youngest” being the operative term.
Meet Caelan McIntosh.
Caelan is a YANA baby, whose first YANA Ride came before he was even born!
Knowing in advance that their baby would need to be delivered at BC Children’s Hospital, Cam and Melissa McIntosh started Team Broken, Battered and Brews-ed for last year’s YANA Ride to raise money in hopes of “paying it forward” for their intended Vancouver trip leading up to Mel’s estimated due date of Sept. 19, 2021. And raise money they did! Their team (with mama Mel still carrying wee Caelan) was YANA’s second-place fundraising team last year, raising nearly $7,000. Cam was the top individual fundraising rider for the 2021 event raising $4,304.13 for YANA.
Baby Caelan made his arrival on August 25, 2021, at BCCH, and this year, Team Recovering Brews-ers is riding for YANA again, and raising funds to celebrate Caelan’s first birthday as a way of saying thank you for the help YANA provided.
From now until Aug. 21, bikers across the Comox Valley and beyond will be riding in the 2022 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride in support of YANA and the local families this organization helps.
YANA, or You Are Not Alone, is a local registered charity that provides travel and accommodation assistance to families who need to access medical care for a child or pregnant mother somewhere outside the Valley.
Medical trips can be extremely costly, with some trips costing several thousand dollars. No matter the cost, YANA is there to help every step of the way. These trips are life-changing for the families in need, and they occur in huge part due to the efforts of the incredible YANA riders gathering pledges and the donors and sponsors supporting them.
Last year YANA was able to provide $265,000 in travel funding and accommodation support. The more pledges that are raised throughout the ride, the more families YANA can say yes to at times when they need it most.
Registration is ongoing. The Comox Bike Co YANA Ride allows you to chart your own course, riding when, where and how you like. On Sunday, Aug. 21, all riders, sponsors and YANA supporters throughout the community are invited to gather at Comox Marina Park between 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for the annual Party in the Park celebration to congratulate everyone’s great achievements.
For more information, registration, or to pledge a rider or team (such as Team Recovering Brews-ers) click on the links above!
Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, August 4th 2022.
By Andrea Rose
Beckett Williamson loves birds, people, strumming his ukulele, and his brand-new scooter. At only 2 years old, he might just be one of the youngest riders yet for the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride annual fundraiser, and he is busy scooting the streets in support of the organization that has helped his family over the last 2 years.
Sally and Thom and big brother Baden welcomed Beckett into the world a few weeks early and many miles from home in June of 2020. 6 weeks before his due date, during a stress test, in-utero concerns indicated that Beckett would need to be born earlier than planned. The Comox Valley Hospital isn’t set up to support infants born before 37 weeks, and the family received the news that they would be delivering their baby in Nanaimo. Before they left, they were introduced to YANA (You Are Not Alone), who would help them along the difficult journey they were about to embark on.
“Basically from when we first got to the hospital here…It was almost instantly that we were presented with an envelope with information from YANA and $200 to travel down to where we needed to go, which ended up being Nanaimo,” explained Sally, who emphasized just how much the support meant to them. They’d known about YANA through past fundraising events, but hadn’t been the recipients of their support before, and were moved by what it felt like to be on the receiving end of such a gift.
The couple travelled to Nanaimo that same day, and on the evening of June 20th Beckett was born at the Nanaimo Regional Hospital, 6 weeks before his due date. He had some breathing difficulties that required intubation, which is not uncommon for many preterm infants, but as the hours and days passed there were growing concerns beyond what was usual for a preemie baby. As symptoms of another underlying condition started to present themselves, it became clear that they wouldn’t be returning home as soon as they had hoped.
Within a couple of days of his birth, Beckett and Sally were sent to Victoria for further testing and a higher level of care. The family reached out to connect with YANA and immediately felt carried and supported by the organization, who arranged for a suite near the hospital where the family could all be together, big brother and grandparents included.
“It was paid for, and we didn’t even have to worry,” says Sally. “It was amazing, because being told when we got to Victoria that there was something else wrong with Beckett and it wasn’t just preemie, obviously we weren’t in a state of mind to really be thinking about anything. We were in our darkest place ever for the 6 weeks in the NICU, and we didn’t have to worry about a place to stay.”
A few weeks after being in Victoria a room opened up at Jeneece Place, where Sally and Thom could be even closer to the hospital as they anxiously waited for answers.
It was almost a month of investigation and testing before they discovered that Beckett had a rare genetic disorder, Prader-Willi syndrome, which affects about 1 in 15,000-20,000 live births, and explained the difficulties Beckett was having with breathing, eating, and thriving as a newborn. The family was finally able to return home after 6 weeks of being away, grateful for YANA’s support throughout their time away, but knowing that their journey had only just begun.
Prader-Willi syndrome impacts growth and development in a number of different ways. The low muscle tone associated with the condition meant that Beckett would be fed via NG tube for the first 9 months, as well as having delays with walking and talking. The genetic disorder also impacts his growth hormone production, as well as sleep apnea, low metabolism, and seizures.
So far there is no cure for Prader-Willi, and there will be many hurdles for Beckett and his family in the years to come. Over the last 2 years, Beckett has bravely undergone a number of surgeries and the family has made multiple trips to Victoria for various specialist appointments, and YANA has been able to provide them with the assurance of support the entire way.
YANA’s funding and accommodation programs are available to all Comox Valley families who have to travel outside of the community for the medical care of a pregnant mother, or a child under 19. There is no lifetime maximum, and no limit to the number of trips made or the amount of time away, allowing families like the Williamson’s to know that every step of the way, no matter what comes their way, YANA would be there to help.
“The support of not having to worry about where we’re going to stay. The stress, and the booking, and the finance – we have to take time off to take him to appointments. It’s such a great thing to know there’s that support for us and our family.” Sally explains, pointing out what an important service this organization provides, especially to families who are welcoming preterm infants that can’t be born in the Comox Valley. “It’s instant. You go in, and you’re like – oh my God I have to travel to have this baby. Here is an organization that can help you travel.”
And the Williamson’s can hardly wait to give back and provide the support that comes full-circle thanks to the generosity of this community. This is the first year the family has fundraised and participated in the YANA Ride, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
“He (Beckett) got a scooter for his birthday and loves it…and then we heard about the YANA Ride, and we were like, ‘yes’, it was the perfect time, because he just loves to scoot, and to be able to help other families,” says Sally. “He’s going to scoot around the block, nothing far because he can’t go very far…and then we’re going to have a barbeque at our place after with friends as well.”
The outpouring of support for Team Beckett has already been enormous, as friends and family have rallied behind their efforts to give back to YANA, as well as big brother Baden, who will also be riding alongside his little brother to help families just like theirs.
“It’s such a community.” Sally shares. “It really is just like, this is our community, let’s take care of our community, let’s take care of each other. We are proud to live in the Comox Valley and proud to support.”
Anyone, anywhere, can ride and raise funds for YANA for the 2022 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride. Between August 1-21st, individuals and families across the community and beyond are invited to register, join a team, raise pledges, and chart their own course, ending off at the Comox Marina finish line on Sunday, August 21st for a massive community Party in the Park.
All money raised through the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride goes towards helping families like Beckett’s, and the countless others who benefit from YANA’s support each year. To register, make a pledge to little Beckett or to another rider, buy 50/50 or raffle tickets and participate in the silent auction, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/60728/comox-bike-company-yana-ride.
Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, July 21, 2022
You’ve registered, you’ve rallied, and you’ll ride between Aug 1-21st. What comes next? You’ll reunite at the annual Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride Party in the Park! Happening on Sunday August 21st at Comox Marina Park, this day will be all about celebrating the amazing riders fundraising for YANA families.
All riders should plan to arrive between 11am-2pm for their chance to win great prizes from this year’s generous sponsors! The community celebration will include a silent auction, beer garden, live music, activities, and delicious snacks at local food truck favourites. One lucky YANA supporter will win the growing 50/50 jackpot and the top 300 fundraising riders will pick up their original 2022 YANA Ride t-shirts courtesy of Dr. Andreas Conradi.
Other prizes and raffles include an Old House Hotel Spa and Dining Package valued at $1000, and every registered rider in the park will have the chance to enter to win the grand prize draw of a $500.00 gift certificate at Comox Bike Co.
All funds raised through the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride go towards YANA: You Are Not Alone. Register make a pledge to a rider, buy 50/50 or raffle tickets and participate in the silent auction starting Aug 1st by using the links above. See you at the finish line!
Balfe Martin Private Wealth of RBC Dominion Securities is making the most of the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride fundraiser by offering to double ALL donations over $100 from July 5-15!
The goal is to raise 10 grand in 10 days for Comox Valley families in need. As well, Balfe Martin Private Wealth is also doubling ALL donations that are shared via Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #ComoxBikeCoYANARide!
YANA is a local non-profit organization that works to improve health care access for Comox families by providing accommodation and travel support to children under 19 and pregnant mothers. By doubling your donation over these 10 days, you can help YANA go that extra mile for those in need of their support.
Registration donations and pledges to riders all count for the matching contribution, so visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/60728/comox-bike-company-yana-ride to double your donation today!
The 2022 Comox Bike Company Ride is a hybrid event that brings together the best of both in-person and virtual events!
Registration opens June 1 and is entirely by tax-receiptable donation.
Grab your favourite biking buddies, ride and gather pledges, and join us for the biggest Party in the Park we’ve ever seen! Riders and teams can chart their own course and ride anytime between August 1st and 21st, then join together in celebration at the finish line on Sunday, August 21st at Marina Park in Comox. Riders, family and friends will arrive at the Party in the Park between 11:00am-2:00pm, and entertainment, activities, treats, a huge 50/50 draw and Old House Hotel & Spa raffle package, beer garden, prize draws and more will continue through to 4:00pm.
Every dollar raised goes directly to supporting Comox Valley families who need to travel for the medical care of their child or a pregnant mother.
Can’t make it on the 21st? Raise pledges and ride anytime between August 1-21st, and join in whatever way you can!
Ride WHERE you like, WHAT you like, and HOWEVER it suits you to show your support for YANA!
- What: Ride whatever you like, if it’s powered by you and it has wheels, it’s a fit for this ride! Gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, even training-wheels and trikes, are welcome to participate in this event.
- How: Challenge yourself or set a goal and raise pledges while you do! Whether it’s a team challenge, a climb the height of a mountain challenge, or a ride-a-little-bit-every-day challenge, do what motivates and inspires you to ride for YANA families.
- Where: Hit the trails, cycle the city streets, or ride laps around the neighbourhood, chart the route that works for you, just make sure to join us at the finish line on August 21st!
For more details and information on this year’s ride visit: https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/yana-event/ride/
For the Comox Valley Record version of this article, visit: https://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/community/2022-comox-bike-co-yana-ride-combines-live-and-virtual-versions/
Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, April 13, 2022
Andrea Rose, Special to the Record
Sarah and Kyle Lesage are no strangers to YANA.
Their first time encountering the generosity and support of the community-funded organization dates back to 2017, when their first-born child, Harvey, was airlifted to Victoria for suspected pneumothorax shortly after he was born. YANA was immediately there, supporting the family with money for food and travel. Harvey made a full recovery from what ended up being a treatable infection, and after three days the family returned home, full of gratitude for the support they received while away.
No more than a year later, Sarah, Kyle and Harvey were anticipating a double-blessing to join their family; twins were expected to arrive sometime in the late fall, but in August of 2018 Sarah’s water broke at just 27 weeks pregnant. Much like their big brother, the twins seemed to have their own grand entrance in mind, which included Sarah being emergency-airlifted, this time to Vancouver, to monitor and prepare for a very early arrival.
The family also knew that they could rely on YANA once again. There are no limits or lifetime maximums with YANA’s funding and accommodations programs, and the couple was blown away by unconditional support from what they’d come to know as a true gift and lifeline, right from their very own community.
“We were hoping we wouldn’t (need it) this time around, but alas, YANA was there again to offer support,” Sarah says, describing how YANA was there almost immediately, no questions asked.
“I felt extremely guilty for needing to rely on YANA for a third time. But they made me feel so loved and looked after. Like no strings attached, guilt-free kind of feeling.
“(We received) $200 in cash before even leaving the hospital, and Kyle was put up in Jeneece Place, so the stress of where he was going to stay was immediately taken off. We could focus on our baby girl. We once again were overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity YANA gives. It truly is a beautiful organization.”
Thankfully, Elenni’s condition turned out to be much less critical than was first suspected; there was no brain bleed, and the medical team felt that her breathing and feeding issues were due to her being born three weeks before her due date.
She was placed on an NG tube and stayed in the NICU for a total of 10 days.
During her time at Jeneece Place, Sarah made friends with another mother of a 25-week old boy who was also far from home and struggling to make ends meet.
“She had to raise funds through GoFundMe in order to pay for her stay and lost wages. I cannot imagine that added stress along with trying to care for a baby who needs extra care. I think every community needs an organization as helpful and loving as YANA.”
The realization of just how special an organization YANA is, and just how much it truly takes a community to make what they do possible, has made it a no-brainer for the couple to jump in and help any way they can. Kyle, among myriad talents, is an experienced videographer and technological guru, and has helped the organization pull off the complicated live streaming component for YANA’s Big Love virtual event for the last two years, and it’s been an honour for them to give back.
“(Kyle) has seen firsthand how the whole community backs YANA,” said Sarah. “Having YANA at your side is like having the whole Valley holding your hand. We are humbled by being part of the giving and receiving end of YANA and the Comox Valley’s generosity.”
Over the past five years YANA has supported the Lesage family through three births, four babies, and many long days and sleepless nights away from home. Thanks to the incredible support of a community that continues to say yes, families like the Lesage’s can know that no matter what may lie on the road ahead, they don’t have to walk a single one of those days alone.
Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, April 13, 2022
by Erin Haluschack
Even though it’s been more than 35 years since she started the grassroots organization, Sandra Williams’s legacy continues to live on in the Comox Valley through YANA – You Are Not Alone.
The community organization offers help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother, with the goal to improve access to healthcare by providing travel funding and accommodation.
“Exactly what she started with; the same mission, the same mandate, as she started then is exactly what we do now,” said Kelly Barnie, executive director of YANA on the latest episode of Off The Page, which drops April 13. “I mean, things look different, they feel different, but the support is still the same.”
Barnie talked about the challenges YANA faced with the pandemic, particularly as their models for fundraising were primarily event-based.
She credited the community for stepping up despite having so many events shut down.
“We actually did better with a lot of the fundraisers (than before COVID), because when people could have said ‘no, sorry, I can’t, I’m sorry, we just can’t support this year,’ everyone found a way to do it. That part has been the hardest part of it operationally… but the most rewarding right to show that we can come through it.
“Our families don’t have a choice of whether to take the thing that’s hard and decide to do it or not, they just do… it just has made it even more clear how important it is to be able to say, ‘yeah, we got you.’ ”
As for finding a balance between helping families with some of the worst situations they may ever face and taking care of herself and her staff, Barnie said there are times when family scenarios are particularly difficult.
“There’s some really hard situations and stories that are hard on the heart for sure. But it is very easily washed away. When we can do that follow-up email and it says every time you are not alone, just know we’re here every step of the way. And if I can reassure someone of that over the phone, it makes every one of those minutes… worth it to hear that sigh of relief from a family.”
As for Barnie’s most memorable story or family she’s worked with? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.
To listen to the full episode, download Off The Page on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and everywhere podcasts are heard, or visit cvoffthepage.buzzsprout.com. New episodes of Off The Page drop every Wednesday.
To submit podcast topics or guest ideas, email email@example.com.
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The Valley Vonka and the Hot Chocolates Factory fundraiser (where 100 per cent of donations go directly to YANA) wraps up shortly – make sure to pick up your chocolate bars by donation in order to find one of six golden tickets to win an amazing prize.
Chocolate bars can be found at the Record office (407D 5th Street, Courtenay), Parker’s Appliance & More, Old House Hotel & Spa, Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa, Canadian Tire, Hot Chocolates, Sure Copy Courtenay, Quality Foods Comox and Peninsula Co-op (Comox).