General News

Hottest Ticket in Town! 2024 YANA Big Love Benefit tickets on sale now

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The 2024 YANA Big Love Benefit Gala will take place on Friday, February 23rd, at the Florence Filberg Centre Signature Venue.

The event will be live-streamed as well for those who would like to attend virtually. Join us in person or online for a truly unforgettable evening of philanthropy, celebration, and community spirit!

Signature Venue tickets are $200 each. Livestream tickets are by tax-deductible donation.

Attendees will enjoy an electric evening of community connection, delicious dining and refreshments, as well as the opportunity to bid on extraordinary items and packages in both the online auction and live auction, hosted by the one and only, Dave Stevens.

The night will include a moving photo presentation captured by the talented Karen McKinnon offering a glimpse into the experiences of a YANA family deeply impacted by the generous support this community provides.

Your in-person or virtual Big Love Benefit ticket gives you exclusive access to both the FULL silent auction running from February 13-23 and the exciting LIVE auction during the Big Love event on Friday, February 23rd.

Show your support by bidding on the amazing items donated by generous individuals and businesses from around the Comox Valley and beyond. There are sure to be some fabulous items up for bid including gift certificates, experiences, getaways, local pottery and artwork, collectibles, and much, much more!

Join the community of supporters rallying behind YANA families! Every ticket purchased, every item auctioned, and every dollar donated makes a difference for a child in our community. Thank you for showing your Big Love for YANA!

More event info here:

Congratulations to our Christmas Crackers 2023 Grand Prize Winner

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As of Thursday, December 21, Crackers are SOLD OUT at ALL locations! 

Thank you to our 2023 Christmas Crackers sponsor, Somers Private Wealth of RBC Dominion Securities whose generosity allowed 100% of every sale to be directed to accommodation and travel funding support for YANA families, and to prize donors Mark the Gold Guy and Tim from Simply Timeless for their neverending sparkly support! Huge gratitude as well to all volunteers, retail location staff, and Cracker purchasers in the Comox Valley and beyond for making this fundraiser a huge success again this year!

Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Mike Englehart! Mike struck gold (or should we say gold AND diamonds!) at his daughter-in-law’s Christmas dinner, where he cracked open the winning cracker purchased from Hugh’s Independent. Talk about a festive surprise! 

But hold on, there’s more to this story! Mike and his lovely wife are gearing up to celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary on January 2nd. What better timing to win a dazzling diamond ring than right before such a special milestone? ❤️ Congratulations Mike, and a big thank you to everyone who participates in our fundraiser this year!

Comox Valley’s Holiday Spirit Shines with YANA’s Sweet Fundraisers

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With the season of giving upon us, the Comox Valley is rallying together to stand by YANA (You Are Not Alone) using both time-honoured traditions and exciting new fundraising methods. 

From November 13-19, the four Tim Hortons stores in the Comox Valley have chosen YANA as their charity partner for the inaugural National Holiday SMILE Cookie campaign. The delicious white chocolate chunk cookies with red and green baked-in sprinkles are $1.50 each, and the entire proceeds of the sales will be shared equally between YANA and Tim Hortons Foundation Camps.


Kelly Barnie, YANA Executive Director, expresses her gratitude, stating, “All the funds raised from the cookies will be used to assist our families travelling outside the Comox Valley to access medical care for their children. We’re incredibly thankful to Tim Hortons for embracing our cause with this new campaign. We’re hoping our supporters will really jump on board by pre-ordering cookies by the dozen too.”

Pre-order your cookies to share with family, friends, and neighbours, surprise your child’s sports team, daycare or class, enjoy with colleagues, serve at holiday gatherings (they can be frozen!), or perhaps keep them all for yourself – the choice is yours. 

But the sweet support doesn’t stop at cookies; YANA’s handcrafted Christmas Crackers, available starting November 12th at seven retailers across the Valley, promise even more joy. Each $5.00 cracker contains the usual delights, with 49 crackers boasting special prizes like lotto tickets and $50, $100 and $250 Quality Foods gift cards. One lucky cracker holds a 14Kt white gold ring with nine brilliant cut diamonds totalling 0.9 carats of beautiful bling.

Spreading holiday joy and making a positive impact in the Comox Valley is as simple as a quick click. 

Charitable donations to YANA can be made as gifts by visiting and clicking “DONATE.” As a donor, you’re not only giving a thoughtful present but also helping our shared community thrive. When you make your generous donation, you’ll instantly receive a heartwarming e-card that can be shared with your loved ones, ensuring your gift is a perfect fit every time.

While the Driftwood Mall Christmas Trees for YANA won’t be returning this year, YANA is thrilled to announce that the mall will be launching an all-new spring fundraiser in support of the charity. Michele Paget, Marketing Director at BGO, says, “We wanted to be able to work closely with YANA’s staff and volunteers at a time of year that would work well for them, and provide them with an infusion of donations during the months when they don’t have another major fundraising event bringing in much-needed funds for Comox Valley families”. As the holiday season concludes, stay tuned for more information about this exciting new fundraiser.

“We supported about 200 children and their families with 400 medical trips last year alone,” said Barnie. “YANA has been assisting local families for almost 4 decades, so when you purchase a cookie, a cracker, or make a donation, there’s a good chance you could be making a difference for a family you might encounter in the shopping line or while you’re enjoying your cookies and double double at Tims.”

Download Smile Cookie pre-order forms here: Tims Holiday Smile Cookie Pre-Order Form (Nov. 10 deadline)

Find a Christmas Crackers retailer list here: YANA Christmas Crackers

Extraordinary total for 2023 YANA Ride

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“A lot of people could do what I’m doing. When you have somebody to ride for, and a great cause like YANA, those are the things that really drive me.”

Our top fundraising rider this year didn’t feel like he was doing anything outrageously special.  He knew he wanted to support YANA, and he came up with a personal plan to do what he could. One person doing their own thing might be somewhat ordinary, but when a community says, “Yes! I know how I can help,” the results are extraordinary. 

57 volunteers and 56 sponsors & prize donors laid the groundwork for 248 dedicated riders to chart-their-own-course in this year’s Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride fundraiser. 

Thousands of supporters made a pledge towards their efforts, bought draw tickets and gear, bid on auction items or had a blast at the Party in the Park. No two people helped in exactly the same way, but the impact of SO many people doing what they personally could was exponential. 

Friends, together we raised ONE HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND record-breaking dollars for YANA families! $112,000!!!!

Thank you to everyone who helped in whatever way that you could so that we’re able to keep helping families the way that we can!

Come ONE, come ALL! The YANA Ride Party in the Park is Sunday, August 20th!

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The 2023 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride PARTY IN THE PARK is this Sunday, August 20, 2023 from 11:00am-4:00pm at Marina Park in Comox.
This massive community celebration is by donation, and EVERYONE is welcome to enjoy:
  • Finish line and congratulation stations for riders.
  • Sponsor donated prizes for every fundraising rider and the official 2023 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride t-shirt for the top 200 fundraisers.
  • Beer & cider garden
  • Silent Auction of bike gear and accessories.
  • Live music and entertainment including DJ INUK, local band “The Edibles”, magician Kevin Luty and an appearance by RBC Olympian, Arianna Hunsicker.
  • Activities for kids, and kids at heart, including bouncy castles, face painting, giant yard games, Little Wheelers track and an E-bike demo station!
  • 50/50, Air Canada Foundation raffle and grand prize draws.
  • Your favourite Marina Park food trucks and seaside snacks.
  • …..and more!


Still time to register for the 2023 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, July 29, 2023

Big excitement is in store for Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride participants and their supporters.

The community of riders, friends, families and colleagues supporting YANA families will all be reuniting at the yearly Party in the Park on Sunday, Aug. 20. It will be a day dedicated to celebrating the incredible efforts of all the riders who have fundraised for YANA families.

All riders should plan to arrive at Comox Marina Park between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for their chance to win great prizes from the generous event sponsors. The community celebration will include live music and entertainment, family activities including bouncy castles, face painting, giant yard games and bike demo stations, beer garden, a silent auction and delicious seaside snacks. One lucky YANA supporter will win the growing 50/50 jackpot, and the top 200 fundraising riders will pick up their original 2023 YANA Ride t-shirts courtesy of Quantum Dental Group. So many prizes are up for grabs, and discounts will be available at Comox Bike Co for all registered riders.

All event costs are covered by sponsors, so 100% of funds raised through the Comox Bike Co YANA Ride are used to support YANA families travelling for their children’s medical needs.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother.

To register, make a pledge to a rider, buy 50/50 or raffle tickets and participate in the silent auction starting Aug 1, visit

YANA Supporters Are Ready to Ride

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Originally published by The Comox Valley Record July 4, 2023

The 2023 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride returns this summer for its 11th anniversary raising money for YANA families. Riders of all ages, abilities and disciplines are invited to be part of the massive community-wide event.

This year the event, organized by YANA (You Are Not Alone) in partnership with Comox Bike Co, will take place from August 1-20. Participants raise money by gathering pledges and donations while charting their own course riding between Aug. 1-20. All riders, family, friends and supporters will reunite at the annual Party in the Park on Sunday, August 20th at Marina Park in Comox.

To keep the event going during the pandemic, organizers designed a virtual model.

The success of the event was overwhelming. The 2020 YANA Ride was the most successful ever. Since then, the Ride has taken on the hybrid live-virtual format, reaching more people every year.

The YANA Fund Society is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother. YANA executive director Kelly Barnie expressed gratitude for the support received from riders, sponsors, and donors, emphasizing the financial difficulties many families face.

“Our goal is to lighten the financial burden of medical travel and ensure families don’t have to worry about whether or not they can access the healthcare their child needs,” said Barnie. “The funds raised through this fun event enable us to commit to the community that assistance from YANA will always be available. Each kilometre cycled, and every dollar raised contributes to fulfilling this promise.”

With the success of previous editions, the 2023 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride aims to surpass previous years’ donations and build on the event’s legacy of community spirit. The ride is unique in that no matter where you ride and when you ride you are invited to celebrate your accomplishment with fellow participants at the party on Sunday, Aug. 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Comox Marina Park.

This year’s Party in the Park will include plenty of activities and attractions for both bikers and spectators. Attendees can look forward to a vibrant expo area, featuring local vendors, sponsors, and organizations dedicated to health and wellness. Live entertainment, food vendors, a beer garden, snacks, samples, face painting, bouncy castles and interactive activities for the whole family will provide a lively and festive atmosphere throughout the day. Additionally, the winners will be drawn for the 50/50 jackpot, Air Canada Foundation raffle and the $500 Comox Bike Co gift card grand prize.

“It’s so fantastic to see people excited to be riding and coming together in the Park,” said Barnie. “Giving away a bunch of cash and the vouchers for flights definitely doesn’t hurt the excitement either! We’re really looking forward to the great turnout we’ve had in the past years continuing again this year.”

To sign up, sponsor a rider, buy 50/50 and raffle tickets, or get more information about the Comox Bike Company YANA Ride, visit

Ready to Ride!!

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The 2023 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride brings all ages, abilities and disciplines of riders together in one massive community-wide event.

Registration opens June 1 and is entirely by tax-receiptable donation.  

Register and ride with your favourite biking buddies, raise funds by gathering pledges, and reunite at the annual Party in the Park on Sunday, August 20, 2023 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, raffle, a beer garden, prize draws and more will continue through to 4:00pm.

Will you ride on August 20th? Or sometime between the 1st to the 20th?  Will you be tracking distance, time or elevation? Will you tally your trips around the block, or your daily commutes to work?  Whatever ride you choose to dedicate to YANA, you’ll be doing your part to raise funds for Comox Valley families who need to travel for the medical care of their child or a pregnant mother.  

Remember, this event is ALL about flexibility!

Ride WHERE you like, WHAT you like, and HOWEVER it suits you to show your support for YANA! 

  • Where: Hit the trails, cycle the city streets, or ride laps around the neighbourhood. Chart the route that works for you, and just make sure to join us at the finish line on August 20th!
  • 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.

For more details and information on this year’s ride visit:

Valley Vonka Golden Ticket winners claim their prizes!

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Thank you, thank you, thank YOU! Major heartfelt gratitude to some amazing champions in our community – CV Record, Hot Chocolates, and Parker Appliances. Your contributions have been instrumental in making this Valley Vonka fundraiser a huge success year after year, and we are honored to have you as part of the YANA family!

With an amazing grand total of $18,500 who wouldn’t jump for joy!! Your support enables us to provide financial assistance and accommodation to families in our community who need it most.

Comox Valley family has a ‘Long-time’ relationship with YANA

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, April 3, 2023

Jasper Myers – Special to the Record

YANA has been a part of the Long family since their youngest daughter, Penny, was born in 2021 and immediately airlifted to Victoria General Hospital where they spent four months.

Her mother, Sophia Long, said Penny was struggling to breathe right after she was born.

“She was born with a, surprise to us, genetic condition,” said Long. “She struggled to breathe and she had some physical dysmorphic features… the respiratory thing was the big problem that brought us to Victoria and kept us there. She actually ended up having a tracheostomy placed when she was five weeks old, and she still has the trach today.”

YANA supported the Long family throughout those first four months, providing them with a daily allowance and accommodation the entire time. To this day, Long said they regularly have to leave the Comox Valley to get medical care for Penny. And every time they leave, YANA is right there to support them.

“Whenever she gets a cold, it’s like a really big ordeal,” Sophia said. “She ends up needing more support than we can give her at home, so we end up in the hospital either at Children’s or Victoria General because of the trach. The trach doesn’t allow her to be admitted in any other pediatric unit in the province other than the pediatric ICU in Victoria or Vancouver.”

Long said they will usually start with a visit to the emergency room, which usually leads to being sent out of town.

“As soon as we are in the ER, we’re either given an envelope of money or we check in with whoever, usually Kourtney [Van Velzen], and they get us set up with funding and accommodation,” she said. “It just takes this huge weight off of our chest when we’re in these crisis modes.”

Regardless of time of day, Long said YANA is available to them and gets back to anyone in need as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know if they answer in the middle of the night, but they are there pretty early in the morning,” she said. “The nurses in the ER and in maternity and I think maybe peds (pediatrics) as well, they have the ability to just give you an envelope of cash from YANA, and then they get you to sign this paperwork, and then that gets kind of the ball rolling.”

In the Longs’ case, when Penny was airlifted after birth, Sophia and her husband started driving down to Victoria and YANA called them before they had a chance to reach out themselves.

“They called and checked in with us, and were like, ‘we have a room for you, a hotel room,’” said Sophia. “We could just basically drive up and check in. And it was already taken care of, which was amazing.”

Sophia said YANA is a huge part of their life. She said YANA always has their back and provides more than just financial assistance.

“We have Kourtney’s cell phone number. And I just text her and I’m like, ‘okay, we’re in the ER again,’” said Sophia. “And they just always offer us support emotionally. ‘Are you okay? Is everything okay? Is there anything we can do to help?’”

She said YANA even helps out with the cost of travel for the ferry or when she or her husband have to drive down to Victoria, which she said takes the pressure off of them and allows them to focus on Penny.

“I just feel like we’re super fortunate that we had this child in this Comox Valley because I know there are other communities that don’t have the same kind of support, and it’s a huge thing,” Long said.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a not-for-profit organization in the Comox Valley that helps families who need to travel for medical treatment for their children or a pregnant mother.