General News

YANA here for children of ALL ages – Ephraim, Age 11 months

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Comox Valley family a second-generation YANA family

Originally published by the Comox Valley Record Sept. 28, 2020

Andrea Postal, Client Services, YANA.  Special to the Record

It was early on a fall morning that Amber Van Der Mark recalls being woken up by labour pains, a whole 2.5 months before her due date. After a phone call to the midwife and an assessment at the hospital, it became clear that Amber and her partner Scott’s first baby was going to be joining their family far sooner than they expected, and far from home, too. At just 28 weeks and two days pregnant, Amber was airlifted that evening to Victoria General Hospital, the closest hospital on the Island that provides for infants born so early.

These are not circumstances anyone imagines bringing their baby into, but YANA sees these cases on a regular basis. In the Comox Valley, labour before 37 weeks requires mothers to deliver in Nanaimo, Victoria, and in some cases, Vancouver. Amber shared about the overwhelming feeling to receive the news that she would be leaving the Valley to give birth, and the many unknowns about the weeks and months ahead with a preemie.

“When Scott and I were in Victoria those first two days not knowing when our son would be born, not knowing how long we would have to stay there, it would stress us out,” Amber said. “We were worried about our son coming early, we were worried about eating away through our savings, especially since we just bought a new house; we got the keys to the house the day Ephraim was born. We were worried about where we would be staying and the cost that would come with that. That was until we got a hold of YANA. The best way I can describe how I felt after Scott relayed the conversation he had with one of the representatives from YANA, was as if I just came up from underwater for days and got my first breath of fresh air. My whole body relaxed, my mind at ease, I started to cry.”

Ephraim was born just six days after their arrival in Victoria, a tiny but healthy one-pound, 13-ounce baby boy who Amber described as “a strong boy and a fighter.” Ephraim made amazing progress as the days went by, checking all of the boxes and meeting milestones, but it would still be 69 long days in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for the new family.

Amber expressed how incredible it was to receive support from YANA throughout their time, and how much more meaningful the support felt because of her parents’ history with YANA. Amber’s family had received the ongoing support of YANA almost three decades ago, something that suddenly became so much more appreciated and understood through her own experience.

“Back in 1990 when our family moved to the Valley, my brother needed to spend some time in the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for surgeries and back then YANA had supported my parents. From then until my brother reached his late teens YANA was there supporting. Years later, my parents gave back by bidding on YANA’s Christmas trees. I never really thought about how much those donations to YANA my parents made really did mean, not until we were in the NICU and YANA was there to support us. In a way it has done a full circle. YANA helped my parents, my parents donated to YANA, and YANA was there to help us.”

Amber and Scott were blown away when YANA came through again after a sudden transfer to the Nanaimo hospital for the final nine days of their NICU journey. Though they were closer to home, they couldn’t imagine being an hour away from their son, never mind needing to travel down to visit him each day.

“The problem was solved with one phone call.” Amber explained. “YANA had arranged for us to stay in a motel until they could find us a bed and breakfast that was close to the hospital. Again, all I had to worry about now was seeing my son, Scott and I had a place to stay in Nanaimo, it was all taken care of with the help of YANA.”

From penny drives in years past, to Valley Vonka chocolate bars, and the countless other community fundraisers that take place each year, it is this Valley’s dedication to keep showing up that lets families know that no matter what they face, they are not alone. It’s because of the decades of commitment from individuals in our community who step up to provide in ways both big and small, that families like Amber and Scott’s, can be supported through challenging times.

“I cannot express how grateful both Scott and I are from the love we have of this community. We cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support and donations to YANA. I look at my son every day and just realize how lucky we are to live in a community where everyone is there for everyone.”

The annual Valley Vonka fundraiser in support of YANA is now in full swing.

Chocolate bars are available for purchase (by donation), with “Golden Tickets” randomly inserted inside five Valley Vonka chocolate bars.

Finding a Golden Ticket gives you a chance at one of five great grand prize packages, from Mount Washington Alpine Resort; The Old House Hotel & Spa; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort; Canadian Tire; and Peninsula Co-op.

Chocolate bars are available at:

• Comox Valley Record office

• Ashley Furniture Homestore

• Old House Hotel, OhSpa, Locals Restaurant

• Mount Washington Alpine Resort

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Location)

• Canadian Tire

• Hot Chocolates

• Sure Copy

• Bomback & Co.

• Blinds and Bubbles Boutique

• Living Room Pharmacy

• Margot Rutherford Notary

• Mackenzie Gartside

• Pilon Tools

YANA here for children of ALL ages – Wes, Age 4

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YANA’s ability to adjust on the fly a huge stress relief for the Szabo family

Originally published by the Comox Valley Record Sept. 27, 2020

Andrea Postal, Client Services, YANA.  Special to the Record

Organization provided support for Wes, 4, and his family

Westley Szabo is a bright and curious four-year-old boy who loves the solar system, can name all of the planets and most of their moons, knows his alphabet and numbers to 20, and delights in spending his hours on the beach by the ocean, a place that mother Jacklyn refers to as “Wes’s happy place.”

Wes was recently diagnosed with autism and global developmental delay, a discovery that has provided answers and insight for his parents Jacklyn and Andrei, after a long and confusing search to understand both the physical and cognitive challenges that presented when Wes was very young.

“When we first started Wes’s journey, we were led to believe he had a genetic condition, Goldenhar Syndrome,” explains mother Jacklyn. “This led to multiple appointments out of town and started us on our medical journey with him. He’s seen a cardiologist, ophthalmologist, ENT, geneticists, undergone surgery, and more recently been through an autism assessment that has led us to his diagnosis. The journey to get these answers is what led us to where we are now. These appointments are hard to get, and you want to be able to say YES each time one calls to let you know you need to come in. I can say yes each time because YANA makes it possible to do so.”

YANA has not only provided support for many trips the family has made for these out-of-town appointments, but they have also been a source of significant comfort and help through some of the more difficult trips the Szabo family has made for their son. Jacklyn recounts the relief she felt when YANA came through again during a particularly stressful time for their family after Wes experienced some complications following surgery at Victoria General Hospital.

“We came to stay at Jeneece Place because our son needed surgery at the hospital. We were supposed to be in and out in one day. He wasn’t recovering well, and I, of course, was very stressed out as we couldn’t leave the hospital, and YANA had only planned a one-night stay. I was so anxious as I laid next to my son worrying about what we were going to do. I got a hold of YANA and they took that stress on and figured it out. We were able to stay where we were until he was able to go home. I remember the panic literally leaving my voice when I found out we didn’t have to worry.”

There is no doubt that life is anything but simple for Wes and his family, with daily challenges, appointments, therapies, and the ongoing learning curve of caring for and supporting a child with diverse needs, an awareness that Jacklyn hopes to see more of in our community.

“My hope for all children who are neurodiverse in the Valley is more accessibility, compassion and inclusion, and for families like ours to know YANA exists for families just like ours.”

“I always say ‘I’ll never leave this place’ to my family and friends. I say that because we’ve experienced generosity, kindness and inclusion from our home here. We are never alone when we leave the Valley for care. It feels like the Valley is going with us when we have to leave. We know quite a few small businesses and individuals who support YANA, and I hope they know they are part of our story now.”

For more information, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/get-support/

***

The annual Valley Vonka fundraiser in support of YANA is now in full swing.

Chocolate bars are available for purchase (by donation), with “Golden Tickets” randomly inserted inside five Valley Vonka chocolate bars.

Finding a Golden Ticket gives you a chance at one of five great grand prize packages, from Mount Washington Alpine Resort; The Old House Hotel & Spa; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort; Canadian Tire; and Peninsula Co-op.

Chocolate bars are available at:

• Comox Valley Record office

• Ashley Furniture Homestore

• Old House Hotel, OhSpa, Locals Restaurant

• Mount Washington Alpine Resort

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Location)

• Canadian Tire

• Hot Chocolates

• Sure Copy

• Bomback & Co.

• Blinds and Bubbles Boutique

• Living Room Pharmacy

• Margot Rutherford Notary

• Mackenzie Gartside

• Pilon Tools

YANA here for children of ALL ages – Eliza, Age 8

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YANA support a source of ‘instant relief’ for mother and daughter in need.

Originally published by the Comox Valley Record Sept. 15, 2020

Andrea Postal, Client Services, YANA.  Special to the Record

Mother recalls the day she was required to leave the community for daughter’s health

Lindsay Dalley, Comox Valley resident and mother of four, wasn’t anticipating that a trip to the ER was going to turn into a transfer to Victoria General Hospital for her daughter Eliza, who developed a serious infection that required a treatment not offered at the Comox Valley Hospital.

Eliza was diagnosed with a difficult to treat strain of infection called actinomycetes following a surgery she’d recently undergone. After seeing no improvement in the infection from oral antibiotics, it was determined that Eliza required IV antibiotics and a PICC line, a procedure that needed to be done in the pediatric unit of Victoria General Hospital.

Lindsay recalled the day she received the news they would be required to leave the community for Eliza’s health.

“I had asked on a moms’ group what items I should bring for a stay at the Victoria hospital and that was when I had been told that I should contact YANA for financial support,” said Lindsay. “My husband was away at work in Alberta, I had done our bi-weekly grocery shop and filled the car with fuel; we are a one-income household and payday was the following week. I literally had under $100 left when we got the call to go to the Victoria hospital. We were told to pack for two, possibly three days. I didn’t think much about it and would just make it work, and then when we got there I was told she would be there at least five days. I slept on the couch with my toddler in her room that first night.

“The following day is when I was able to contact YANA and they made arrangements for us to stay at Jeneece Place next door. It was an emotional roller coaster for sure when I realized I had no way to pay for a place or food for a stay of at least five days; it was instant relief when I got in contact with YANA.”

This kind of trip isn’t uncommon for Comox Valley families to make when their children require treatment not offered in the community, but the sudden and emergent need to go can leave families feeling helpless as they face many challenges. Things like arranging and covering the costs of travel, parking, accommodations and food, add up quickly. They can weigh on a family a lot, especially with the stress and worry that comes along with having a sick child.

Executive Director Kelly Barnie remembers receiving the voicemail from Lindsay and talking on the phone with her on a Saturday morning while she was in the room with Eliza, who was struggling to be able to swallow the meds she had to take.

“I could hear the worry in Lindsay’s voice so clearly, but also the amazing mama bear strength she was mustering for her little girl,” said Barnie. “The stress of needing to help her take the pills that she needed to take at that moment, but also the weight of what the future would bring because of this rare infection, made my heart ache for her. I was so incredibly grateful then, as I am every time I explain the support YANA provides, that we are lucky enough to live in a community that comes together so strongly in support of our children and families.”

Months later, Eliza is still receiving treatment after a nearly year-long course of antibiotics, and the family continues to wait anxiously for a surgery that will hopefully resolve the problem for good. In the meantime, Lindsay knows she can reach out to YANA along the way for anything from surgical consults through to post-op check-ups, with the assurance that YANA will be there the whole road, and that thanks to a community that rallies together for families, they are not alone.

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.

For more information, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/get-support/

•••

The annual Valley Vonka fundraiser in support of YANA is now in full swing.

Chocolate bars are available for purchase (by donation), with “Golden Tickets” randomly inserted inside five Valley Vonka chocolate bars.

Finding a Golden Ticket gives you a chance at one of five great grand prize packages, from Mount Washington Alpine Resort; The Old House Hotel & Spa; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort; Canadian Tire; and Peninsula Co-op.

Chocolate bars are available at:

• Comox Valley Record office

• Ashley Furniture Homestore

• Old House Hotel, OhSpa, Locals Restaurant

• Mount Washington Alpine Resort

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Location)

• Canadian Tire

• Hot Chocolates

• Sure Copy

• Bomback & Co.

• Blinds and Bubbles Boutique

• Living Room Pharmacy

• Margot Rutherford Notary

• Mackenzie Gartside

• Pilon Tools

YANA here for children of ALL ages – Evan, Age 15

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YANA support ‘life-changing’ for Corinne and Evan

Originally published by the Comox Valley Record Sept. 6, 2020

Andrea Postal, Client Services, YANA

Special to the Record

Valley Vonka fundraiser now on at participating sponsors throughout the Comox Valley

Each month, 15-year-old Evan and his mother Corinne climb aboard Hope Air in order to fly to BC Children’s Hospital where Evan undergoes an IV treatment for Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness that for a time, robbed some of the normalcy of childhood like birthday parties, sleepovers, even school.

The monthly trips to receive treatment have been life-changing for Evan’s health, and have been made much more accessible because of YANA’s support over the last five years.

Corinne and her son Evan moved to the Island with their family in 2015, a year after Evan’s diagnosis and many exhausting and expensive trips to BC Children’s from the remote community they were living in.

“When your child is first diagnosed with an illness, you are primarily worried about the child and keeping your family together,” said Corinne. “I chose to move our family from a small isolated community with limited resources to the Comox Valley to be closer to Evan’s doctor, pediatrician, and BC Children’s Hospital.”

Shortly after the family arrived in the Comox Valley they were introduced to YANA, and immediately felt the support of the community.

“Once we connected with YANA, there was relief knowing there are other families going through similar experiences. YANA is a community within a community. With YANA’s support, I knew I was not in this alone.”

Trips to Vancouver are not only a financial burden on families, but can be incredibly taxing on a child as sick as Evan was. Corinne explained that at times, Evan wasn’t physically capable of taking the sky train back to the airport after a treatment. The relief she felt to be able to use YANA funds to call a taxi allowed Corinne to focus on Evan and his health without worrying over travel costs.

The family not only sings the praises for the assistance they’ve received from YANA, but have been involved in various YANA fundraisers over the years. Corinne’s brother-in-law Corey, just cycled a whopping 300 kilometres for this year’s hugely successful YANA Ride, raising donations to give back to an organization that has given so much to his nephew.

Evan and his family are celebrating some big news. At his most recent treatment appointment, they found out Evan is officially in remission and the relief is huge. He will still require monthly treatments to stay in remission, and YANA will continue to walk by their side and provide help every step of the way.

“It takes a community to raise a child,” says Corinne. “We feel honoured to be a part of the YANA family, and could not do this journey without them.”

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a local charity offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother. YANA improves access to healthcare by providing travel funding and accommodation for families of babies to teens, and all ages in between.

For more information, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/get-support/

***

The annual Valley Vonka fundraiser in support of YANA is now in full swing.

Chocolate bars are available for purchase (by donation), with “Golden Tickets” randomly inserted inside five Valley Vonka chocolate bars.

Finding a Golden Ticket gives you a chance at one of five great grand prize packages, from Mount Washington Alpine Resort; The Old House Hotel & Spa; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort; Canadian Tire; and Peninsula Co-op.

Chocolate bars are available at:

• Comox Valley Record office

• Ashley Furniture Homestore

• Old House Hotel, OhSpa, Locals Restaurant

• Mount Washington Alpine Resort

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Location)

• Canadian Tire

• Hot Chocolates

• Sure Copy

• Bomback & Co.

• Blinds and Bubbles Boutique

• Living Room Pharmacy

• Margot Rutherford Notary

• Mackenzie Gartside

• Pilon Tools

2020 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride Supporters Achieve Unbelievable Results

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When you’re feeling unrest and uncertainty, and you’re not sure if anything will ever feel “normal” again…You Are Not Alone

When you choose to find light, to take action, big or small, to make things better, to choose positivity in every way you can …You Are Not Alone

When you hope that you or the ones you love will never need to contact YANA, but deeply feel the strength that comes with knowing that if the call has to be made, support will be provided without fail…You Are Not Alone

When you beam with massive personal and shared pride, that together we raised over $108,000 dollars for local families in need…You Are Not Alone

We’re collectively facing global challenges that separate and isolate us.  Take heart!  You are part of a community of supporters that stands together no matter what and has learned to flex, adjust and overcome. We have all had experiences and feelings these last few months not unlike what many YANA families face every day.  Uncertainty, fear, anxiety, loneliness…. But also strength, hope, love and support. 

Make no mistake, when our community comes together like this in such a huge way, under such troubling circumstances, we are showing our youngest, most treasured people, and everyone who loves them, that we care.  That we show up.  That we will forever promise them  – You Are Not Alone.

Thank you YANA riders, donors, sponsors, volunteers and supporters across the Comox Valley and beyond for jumping on board and achieving success that far surpassed our biggest, boldest dreams! 

2020 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride supports the charity and local businesses

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – July 27, 2020

YANA has provided financial help to Melissa Helme and her seven-year-old daughter, Autumn, for a few years. This year, Autumn is giving back, by riding in the Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride. Photo by Andrea Postal.

There’s still time to register a team or sponsor a rider

By Andrea Postal – Special to The Record

With the 2020 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride taking on a whole new look in a socially-distanced fashion, the new format is proving to be a big win for the organization, riders, and business community. 

Registration and pledge dollars are coming in strong for a fundraiser that typically brings in enough funds to cover over half the annual accommodation costs required for Comox Valley families travelling outside of the community for medical care of children and pregnant moms. Riders are excited about the prize incentives being offered this year, which are also a direct give back to the Valley’s local business community hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Autumn Helme and her mother Melissa (pictured) have been YANA clients and avid supporters for a few years now. Autumn and her mother make weekly trips down island for a therapy Autumn requires, and the financial assistance YANA provides has been invaluable. 

“We both love YANA so much,” says mother, Melissa Helme. “Whether it’s a big emergency, or just a day trip out of town for a medical appointment, it all matters, and YANA helps relieve the financial burden of the trip. I also love the win-win-win approach to the YANA Ride this year. Everyone likes a chance to win something, and it’s such a great motivation to get more donations. Local businesses have really suffered in the last few months, and it’s so great to be supporting these businesses, and helping them bounce back and thrive.”

You may have spotted Autumn and Melissa at the finish line at previous year’s YANA rides,  ringing bells and handing out medals or water bottles, but this year looks different. With group gathering restrictions in place, there will be no volunteer crew, rider send-off, or post-ride celebration party in the park for the 600 riders, countless volunteers, and community members that attend this sold-out event each year. This year’s YANA Ride is a flexible and socially distanced event where riders can register by donation and choose the when, where, and what they’ll ride, anytime between August 1st-15th. This new format has allowed for some of the newest riders to join and ride at their pace and comfort, like Autumn who has signed up as a first-time rider this year. 

Autumn, or “Team Razzle Dazzle”, has committed to riding for 7 hours during the two-week window, one hour for each year. She only started riding her bike a few months ago, but can’t wait to use her newfound skill to support an organization that has supported her. She’s also excited about some of the great prizes up for grabs, and is hoping that ice cream from a local shop might be in her prize-winning future. And if ice cream and YANA support wasn’t enough, an anonymous donor has stepped up to match Autumn’s pledges up to $1,000 for YANA. 

Local business partnerships are at the core of these fundraising events, and play an essential role through sponsorship and prize donation. 

“We don’t have the hard costs of a physical event, of course, this year, so we made the choice to direct some of those sponsorship funds right back into the local economy,” said YANA executive director Kelly Barnie. “By using some of our sponsor dollars to purchase gift cards from these businesses, we’re getting behind those that have always found a way to be there for us, and we’re rewarding riders for setting and reaching some pretty awesome fundraising goals at the same time.”  

Whether you’re a road cyclist, a mountain biker, or you enjoy a slow cruise around town, this year’s ride is for you and it isn’t too late to register yourself or a team. To sign up, donate to a rider, or get more info on this years’ event, visit

Ride WHAT you want for 2020 YANA Ride

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – July 21, 2020

81-year-old grandpa Pradeep training for his YANA ride on team “Not Fast, Just Furious” all the way from the UK

The 2020 Comox Bike Company YANA Ride begins in less than two weeks.

The completely re-imagined event offers something for everyone regardless of age, ability or riding style. Participants can ride what they like for the event. As long as it has wheels and is person-powered, it’s perfect.

From road cyclists, mountain bikers and casual family riders to those who may prefer a more relaxed pace on their stationary bike while enjoying a TV show – this year’s ride is truly inclusive.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) has been helping Comox Valley families for almost 35 years. The charity provides accommodation and funding when a family needs to travel for medical reasons for a child or a pregnant mom. The $80,000 goal the volunteer committee has set for this annual fundraiser would cover over half the accommodation costs provided in a year.

Watch for riders on the roads, trails, tracks and living rooms near you from Aug. 1-15.

For more information or to register visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/yana-event/ride

RBC Dominion Securities doubling YANA Ride dollars

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – July 15, 2020

RBC Dominion Securities and their investment advisors Brendan Somers, Lara Austin, Don Somers, Brian Balfe, Sean Martin, and Blake Simpson have stepped up in a huge way in support of the 2020 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride. They are matching all donations from July 15-25, up to a maximum of $5000.00.

RBC Dominion Securities and their investment advisors Brendan Somers, Lara Austin, Don Somers, Brian Balfe, Sean Martin, and Blake Simpson have stepped up in a huge way in support of the 2020 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride, and they’re hoping the community will too.

Their goal is to help raise $10,000 in 10 days by matching donations to YANA Ride participants dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.00.

Don Somers explains that they like to make sure the community is looked after. “Especially this year, with COVID 19, there’s a lot of people who are struggling. We’re seeing a lot of incidents where people do need help, and an organization like YANA is just really rising up to the moment here.”

“We’re hoping people will pull out those wallets, and start making some of those donations,” added Brendan.

From July 15-25, every dollar donated to the YANA Ride will be doubled. There’s never been a better time to show your support for YANA!

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical services for their children.

To register to ride, or make a donation that will be matched by RBC Dominion Securities, go to https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/yana-event/ride

 

Chart your own course for 2020 YANA Ride

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record – July 7, 2020

One great thing about the reimagined YANA Ride for 2020, is participants aren’t restricted to a pre-determined course. You can pick your distance, pick your terrain, and even pick your country. YANA has already received registrations from as far away as England.

Registration for annual fundraiser ongoing

Excitement over this year’s Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride continues to build.

For the 2020 event riders can choose to ride anywhere they like, for any distance they like. In addition to the stalwart YANA supporters from the Comox Valley, riders this year have registered from as far afield as Calgary, Ottawa and England and will be riding on terrain ranging from roads to trails and tracks. The reimagined ride allows support for YANA by anyone from anywhere!

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical services for their children. The Comox Bike Co. YANA ride is a major annual fundraiser for the Comox Valley organization.

The 2020 ride will take place Aug. 1-15.

For more information or to register visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/yana-event/ride/.

2020 YANA Ride ‘reinvented’ to conform with COVID-19 guidelines

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Originally published by Comox Valley Record –June 24, 2020

Registration for the reinvented 2020 Comox Bike Company YANA Ride is now open.

Instead of the charity’s signature summer event that brings hundreds of riders and volunteers together, the eighth annual ride has been transformed into a fully flexible, ‘chart your own course’ ride format observing social distancing guidelines.

From expert cyclists to biking beginners, the 15-day event encourages riders of all ages and abilities to hop on their bikes and fundraise for YANA families. The fully flexible ride means participants choose when they ride anytime between Aug. 1-15, whether it is one day or multiple days. They also choose where they ride. From roads or trails to living rooms and tracks, 1 km or 1,000 km, the choices are unlimited. Participants even choose what they want to ride. From road bikes and mountain bikes to gravel bikes, e-bikes and trikes. If it has wheels and pedals, it is perfect for this ride.

“The news of not being able to hold our traditional event that raised $80,000 last year hit pretty hard,” said YANA board president Kelly Rusk. “It’s been really inspiring to see our volunteer organizers pivot the ride format so quickly, and to see how people are jumping right on board. The flexibility we’ve had to use this year has actually really opened things up. We have mountain bikers planning to ride the trails, a family in Ontario registered, and we’ve even heard about an 80-year-old grandpa in England who’s planning to ride his stationary bike for his grandsons’ team. It’s all pretty incredible!”

YANA supported over 600 medical trips last year and provided $322,876 in funding and accommodation support. In 2019, funds raised from the ride covered more than half the accommodation costs for children and pregnant mothers needing to travel out of our community for medical reasons.

“We are so thankful for the support our riders, sponsors and donors are showing for our families,” said YANA executive director Kelly Barnie. “So many families are facing financial challenges now that they never have before. The last thing we want any family worrying about is whether they can afford to get their child the medical care they need. Our fundraising events and donations allow us to promise the community that we’ll be there for them no matter what. Every kilometre cycled and every dollar raised makes sure we can keep that promise.”

All registered riders who are raising funds for YANA will be rewarded with prizes. Every single rider bringing in donations will receive a prize or gift card donated by or purchased at a local business using sponsorship funds.

The top 300 fundraising riders will receive an original design 2020 T-shirt thanks to Comox Bike Company YANA Ride sponsor, Dr. Andreas Conradi.

The ride will run from Aug. 1-15. Registrations are now open.

To sign up, sponsor a rider or get more information about the Comox Bike Company YANA Ride, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2020/31723/comox-bike-company-yana-ride