General News

Giving Tuesday: Good for the Community

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Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non profits. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, Giving Tuesday is a movement for everyone who wants to give something back.

You will find all kinds of great ways to get involved including the “unselfie”, opportunities for matching funds and the option to purchase charity gift cards.

YANA is upheld by the generosity of the Comox Valley community. There are many ways to give and we are grateful that you would consider giving to YANA on Giving Tuesday so that we can ensure children from local families are well supported during their out-of-town medical treatment.

Donate directly or learn about other ways to give to YANA.

Driftwood Mall Supports YANA with Annual Christmas Tree Auction

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During the weeks of November 22nd to December 6th, Driftwood Mall is hosting its Annual Christmas Tree Auction for YANA.

This event roots back to 1999 when Heather Tisdall, past manager at Hallmark Cards, was asked by the Driftwood Mall if she would like to organize a Christmas Tree Auction for YANA.

“Of course I did,” says event coordinator Tisdall. “And that first year was so much fun, I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Heather 2014

For fourteen years local businesses, families and individuals have been decorating trees which are then displayed in the mall for two weeks, ending December 6. A silent auction during that time allows the public to bid on their favourite tree. Tisdall is on site, overseeing bids, for the full two weeks, from morning until night.

“This is a fantastic event and a big fundraiser for YANA,” says YANA President, Judy Cryer. “Heather does an amazing job and we are so grateful to the Driftwood Mall and all the wonderful businesses and individuals who donate these beautiful trees. Their continued support for YANA and our community means so much.”

For her part, Tisdall puts it simply, “This makes me feel good. YANA reached out to help with my grandsons and I just want to give back.”

“You can take home a fully decorated tree or use it at your business or donate it to a family who may need one,” finishes Cryer. “Either way, you are helping YANA and our community and that is the true spirit of the holidays.”

This year there are 32 trees to bid on, some complete with gifts, ready to go home with the lucky winners.

Here’s who is participating this year:

Chalifoux/Luscombe Family; Courtenay Fish and Game; In Loving Memory of Kaiya Williams; London Drugs; Trisha Randle; Driftwood Ticket Centre; Tisdall/Godfrey/Van Cleave Family; CV Business Network; Kelli Andrews; Team Deters/Team Behan; Investors Group Financial; All In One Party Shop; Boston Pizza; Comox Airport; Target; Generation Gap; Vrable Family; McKenzie Gartside; Kingfisher; Needle Loft/Seams Perfectly Simple; K.W. Electric; Banks/Razmus Family; The Bisque Restaurant; Quality Foods and A Step Above; Gayles Grooming In Memory of Kweil Lewis; Home Depot; The Rushton Family; Angels; Ecole Au-Coeur-De-Lile; Mosaic Vision Care; Sandi Piper; and The Tee Box.

Did You Know?

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Did you know that we made 5,000 Christmas crackers in record time?!  Thanks to an amazing volunteer response and tremendous leadership by YANA Board Director, Lesley Hunter, we completed crafting on November 3rd, 2014.  These beauties will be making their debut this weekend at the Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire at the Florence Filberg Center, November 7,8 & 9.  Click here for more information.

Our friends at Shaw captured some of the magic.  Take a peek!

Morning At The Movies Screens Retro Classic – Ghostbusters

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“Who you gonna call?”

If you grew up in the 80s you will likely know the answer to this question. Adam Duncan, President of ADI Benefits, admits he grew up in the 80s and admits his all time favourite films are from that era.

“I think it was a great decade filled with great films,” says Duncan. “I can name at least a dozen I’d like to see one more time on the big screen.”

Duncan wanted to do something fun for family and friends last year, so he rented the Rialto Theatre and invited the community out for a special showing of “Back To The Future.” Since moving to the Comox Valley he has been a supporter of YANA and thought the event would be a cool fundraiser. It went so well he decided to do it again.

“Halloween seems like a perfect time of year for Ghostbusters and the morning after Halloween is perfect for a movie day,” continues Duncan. “This is a great community and I’d just like to show my appreciation for being a part of it.”

Doors open November 1st at 9:30 am for the 10:00 am showing at the Rialto Theatre, 2655 Cliffe Avenue.

DSC_0012There’s a prize for the best costume, though coming in pjs is fine too. The concession will be open and offering special prices. Admission is by donation to YANA, with a suggested $5 minimum at the door.

Please RSVP to with the number in your family or group.

Parental Advisory: This is the full movie version and was rated PG at its original release in 1984.

Interested in displaying a poster to help promote this fun event?  Click here!


‘Our Story’ Shared at 2014 AGM

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While the Williams family was enjoying a ball game their four-year-old daughter, Roberta, became critically ill and had to be airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. A diagnosis of congenital heart failure with severe complications changed the family’s life in an instant.

Roberta the Early Years

Sandra Williams stayed in Vancouver with her young daughter for months at a time. Roberta’s father stayed behind working and managing a household with three other children, while travelling to Vancouver whenever he could. The financial and emotional costs, during this time, were devastating to the Williams family.

Drawing from their own experiences, and after meeting other families in the same position from all over the province, the Williams family made a commitment to our community. They committed to the ideal that no family should be alone when faced with leaving their community for medical treatment of a child.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) was founded in 1986. This grass roots organization had its humble beginnings operating out of the Williams’ home and helping one family at a time. Sandra, her friends, and her family were determined to realize the vision of keeping families together during their most difficult times.

YANA now operates out of its office on Fitzgerald Avenue in Courtenay’s downtown core. We help children and pregnant mothers who reside in School District 71 and who need to travel outside our community for medical care. We provide accommodation and direct funding to help with expenses. To date, this unique non-profit organization has funded thousands of trips for medical treatment in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and other locations.

Our goal is to ensure our community can access the best medical care for their children and to keep Comox Valley families together during stressful times.

YANA’s core belief remains unchanged; when a child is ill the whole family needs care. The Comox Valley has shared that belief for 28 years and continues to support YANA and the families in our community who access our services.

Sandra Williams, founder of YANA, passed away in 2009. She left a legacy of giving, compassion, and caring that has become part of the Comox Valley culture. We are proud to continue her work to ensure you are not alone.

A Fundraiser, A Volunteer, And A Very Nice Story

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Once upon a time there was a fundraiser called ‘Consignment For YANA’. It is this great, on-going idea initiated by a volunteer named Loretta Semple. She worked with consignment retailers to set up accounts so gently used clothing donations can be received directly at most stores and dedicated to YANA.  To make things easier for donors and retailers, she’s willing to receive clothing donations personally and take the items in to local consignment stores.  A couple times a year she collects the money and donates it to YANA.

We wanted to support Loretta with what she is doing by posting a story to our website. But then we started thinking about Loretta and all that she does for YANA and we realized that SHE is the story we want to tell.

2013Auction_LorettaPhotoboothLoretta came to the Comox Valley with her family in 1991 from Ontario and shortly after a brief health scare with her youngest daughter became involved with YANA. She started by volunteering at fundraisers and in 2006 joined the Board of Directors until 2012, assisting in guiding this grass roots organization to what it is today.

She is the kind of person who never seems to run out of energy, she is the kind of person whose spirit inspires the people around her, she is the kind of person who is like a fairy godmother to an organization like YANA. When we really need something, she appears at just the right moment, and waves her magic wand.

Currently her main focus is the ‘YANA Auction Committee’ and ‘Consignment for YANA’, but she still picks up the YANA cans, for coin donations, from various businesses around the Valley. In addition to this, she is a volunteer presence wherever she is needed.

2013Croquet_LorettaLoretta loves to dress up, be active, and be involved. She has three great children, all grown up and pursuing their own passions, and lives happily ever after in Comox with her husband, Dave, of 29 years.

We hope you enjoy these pictures of Loretta, we love having her on the YANA team!

To support Consignment for YANA, follow the ongoing fundraiser on Facebook.


YANA Kids’ Clutter Fall Sale

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Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 25th, 2014…. the Kids’ Clutter Sale is back!

This is an opportunity for young families to get motivated to pack up clothes that are too small and toys that are gathering dust on the shelves, and to make some money from their de-cluttering.

It’s a chance for other families to come out and get some really good deals on gently-used children’s clothes and other items. Anything from strollers to games to bikes might be on sale. It’s a great event for YANA to connect with families in the Valley and to help with something that benefits us all.

kids clutter

This semi-annual event held at the Courtenay Legion is a Comox Valley favorite with something for everyone. Gently-used clothing, accessories and toys are all on sale for fantastic prices. You can become a seller, strictly buy, or volunteer…. and by popular demand, there is also the option to donate this year.

There is typically a line-up down the street for this sale. That’s a pretty good indication, you will love this sale!

Click here to buy, sell, volunteer or donate.

YANA Ride Video Release

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We are very excited to release Fox & Bee’s amazing video of the 2014 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride.  Thank you, Fox & Bee, for volunteering your time and talent to create this magic!

YANA Ride Exceeds Target

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Special guest volunteer Tori presents Terry Parkinson with his medal at the end of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride on Sunday. A total of 405 riders took part in the ride, raising in excess of the targeted $32,000 goal for the local charity.  We sure appreciate The Record being there to capture the moment!


Sunday’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride – A Buzz with Volunteers

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Organizers are delighted that over 185 cyclists will be supporting Comox Valley families at this year’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. But the buzz at YANA is focused on five very special volunteers. Markus, Gabe, Tori, Anna and Owen are all members of YANA families, who will be welcoming cyclists back to Marina Park as they cross the finish line on Sunday 17 August.

DSC_0026“It’s fantastic that these children will be coming out to support future YANA families, we are super excited to host these very special volunteers. They are the reason why we will all be at Marina Park on Sunday.” comments Marcie Dumais, Executive Director of YANA.

Participants of the 2nd annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride choose their route and cycle anywhere from 5, 25, 50 or 100km. Event expenses have been completely covered by sponsorship, as a result, the money raised from registrations, pledges and t-shirts sales will go direct to YANA families. There is still time to register to ride, make a donation by pledging a rider, or volunteer on ride day.

“Many of these young volunteers have shared their experiences to help YANA communicate what we do, their stories are the heart of our website.” continues Dumais.

11 year old, Markus, or Iron Man Markus, loves nerf guns and video games and, he’ll be starting grade 6 in the fall. It was during the fifth grade that he earned the name Iron Man Markus. He tripped and hit his head at school then ended up at St Joseph’s Hospital, where they found 2 tumors, one on top and the other at the back of his head. After undergoing major surgery and chemotherapy Markus recently celebrated one month cancer free.

Gabe is 7 years old and has undergone years of leukemia treatment in Vancouver and during that time YANA has had the privilege of being part of a journey which started suddenly when he was only 2 ½.

Tori was born in 2007 at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver with a heart condition. She required open-heart surgery four days after she was born. Tori spent her first year in hospital where she received a tracheotomy, ventilator, and a second heart surgery. YANA financially assisted her family’s stay in Vancouver for the first 15 months of her life, allowing them to focus on Tori.

9 year old Anna spent significant time away from home receiving treatment for kidney cancer. Although her father was with her, she was separated from her mom and brothers, Rens and Diego, who visited when they could. Anna’s mother, Hendrika, credits YANA’s financial support and the use of the apartments with keeping the family together. She adds, “A sick child has a huge impact on family-life, the stress, your kid in pain, sick, struggling and sad, it’s a lot of emotions. What a blessing to know that the community supports YANA and therefore you. It’s a big help mentally as well as financially.”

Owen was born premature and spent the first 117 days of his life in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at BC Children’s Hospital. He has been living with cerebral palsy for 6 years now. YANA has been with his family since the beginning.

“Markus, Gabe, Tori, Anna and Owen, have such courageous stories, each of those stories was made more manageable because of YANA and the Vancouver apartments,” shares Patti Fletcher, Co-owner of Simon’s Cycles, “they are the inspiration for this year’s fundraising goal; we’d like to raise $32,000, which would pay for 5 months of accommodation expenses for Comox Valley families.”

YANA helped 112 local families in 2013, funded 290 medical trips, provided over $75,000 in financial assistance and offered homes away from home in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

Read more about these and other YANA stories.

There is still time to support Comox Valley families by registering for the ride, making a donation or volunteering, for full details see event website.