General News

Stella and Anela bring music to YANA Ride

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This year’s Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is building up to be the best ever. On August 16th Anela Kahiamoe will bring his pure Hawaiian sounds to Marina Park from 12:15pm. Stella Swanson and her Family Band will perform music from Stella’s debut album, “I’m Not A Bunny” from 1pm.


After their set Stella and Sophie Swanson will support the day’s youngest riders and officially start the run bike race.

There is still time to register or make a donation to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride. For more information, click here.

Photo: left to right: Simon’s Cycles Co-Owner: Patti Fletcher, Stella Swanson, Karen Pantuso Swanson, Sophie Swanson, Anela Kahiamoe, YANA Executive Director: Marcie Dumais

Photo Credit: Kelly Rusk

YANA Ride brings together cyclists of all ages

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Seven-year-old Sophie Clark will ride 25km on August 16th to raise funds for YANA.

What started out as a way to help save the polar bears has turned into a love for riding bikes and now, a way to raise money for a charity that Sophie loves.

“I’m really proud of Sophie, and what she is doing,” says her dad, Aaron, “Sophie really loves bike riding, I remember trying to pick her up from school one very rainy day this year, she refused to get in the car, in the end she rode home with some friends. She really enjoys riding her bike, and we’re a biking family so we think it’s just great.”

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

Sophie explains she started riding when she learned about global warming, “I like polar bears but the ice is melting so where will they live? It’s because of gas and how we use energy, but bikes don’t use gas.”

Seven-year-old Clark says she registered because she “wanted to try something hard and I also love YANA. I like riding my bike because you get exercise and it’s really fun.” Sophie has been practicing for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride all year, “I just did a 24km bike ride with my family in Vancouver, I rode my bike to school all year, and I might try the Saturday training ride with the YANA group. I’ve also been trying to make it up hills.”

Last year Sophie rode the family ride for the second time and raised over $800 for YANA. On August 16th she will ride her longest ride yet, the 25km route. Anyone wanting to pledge Sophie can donate by visiting the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride registration site via:

YANA’s Executive Director, Marcie Dumais, is overwhelmed by the community support, “I love this community. It never ceases to amaze me how we work together to support our own. People of all ages get behind our ride in so many ways, we have our partners at Simon’s Cycles, participants, sponsors and volunteers all coming together to create one incredible event,” Dumais has many examples to share.

Sponsors cover all costs and expenses ensuring that all registration and pledges go directly to helping Comox Valley families. Dr. Andreas Conradi shows his community spirit as the ride’s premier sponsor, “Twenty years ago, my first-born was on life support and YANA supported our family. Having experienced that, I know first-hand what it means to have your community’s support.” Now he and his team give back in as many ways as they can. This year they chose to provide t-shirts to nearly 500 participants and volunteers, “We really wanted to provide people a permanent reminder of the great thing they are doing when they choose to participate in this ride for YANA. I hope it will remind them of the unity of the ride, the good feeling we all share on the day and the knowledge that it was all done to help others.”

The YANA Ride is made possible by over 100 volunteers, like tri-athlete, Jill Grant, “When I was asked to volunteer I thought it was a perfect fit because this event is about fun and fitness and I have been involved in so many of these events as an athlete, it’s great to give back because it feels so good.

Many of the cyclists in the YANA Ride are joining us for their first community ride. I just love encouraging them to come and enjoy the day,” says Grant, “I remember at last year’s YANA Ride, I was helping a group who were training hard for the 25km route. Some of them ended up doing the 50km route. And oh man! When they came back across that finish line, they were so happy at what they had achieved, and so was I. That’s what I love, I’m just a natural cheerleader.”

The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is a challenging and unique bicycle ride through the beautiful Comox Valley with a variety of routes. Participants will enjoy bike support on all routes, special treats at fueling stations along the way, a delicious BBQ lunch, entertainment, draw prizes, congratulatory medals and discounts at Simon’s Cycles.

With the ride just over 3 weeks away there is still plenty of time for the community to get involved by pledging any of the registered riders, registering to ride or becoming an event sponsor. For more information, click here.

Comox Valley Record

Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride Returns

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YANA recipient, Anna, giving out medals at the finish line of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride last summer.

YANA recipient, Anna, giving out medals at the finish line of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride last summer.

When 10-year-old Anna spent significant time away from home receiving treatment for kidney cancer, she was separated from her mom and brothers who visited when they could.

Anna’s dad was with her in Vancouver. Anna’s mother, Hendrika, credits YANA’s financial support and the use of their apartments for keeping the family together.

“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 emotion,” said Henricka. “What a blessing to know that the community supports YANA and therefore you. It’s a big help mentally as well as financially.”

That’s precisely why cyclists will be heading to Comox’s Marina Park on August 16.

“I rode because family is everything to me, I would do anything for my own daughter, and I am honoured to help other families in their time of need,” said Shannon Colthorpe, one of last year’s riders. “I felt proud to finish, and be part of such a great local fundraiser. It’s all fun, there’s no pressure to go fast, and the satisfaction of the ride is worth every ache and pain I felt the next day.”

The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is a challenging and unique bicycle ride through the beautiful Comox Valley with a variety of routes to enjoy including a 25km, 50km and a new 100km loop. There will also be a 6km family route that allows riders of all ages to cycle together regardless of ability.

For little ones not yet using pedals YANA will be hosting a special run bike race. Participants will enjoy bike support on all routes, special treats at fueling stations along the way, a barbecue lunch, entertainment, draw prizes, congratulatory medals and discounts at Simon’s Cycles.

Participants who register before July 23 will receive a free souvenir t-shirt courtesy of one of the event sponsors. Registrants may also purchase an exclusive cycling jersey and join Simon’s Cycles for pre-event training rides.

For more information click here.

Comox Valley Record

We Really, Really Like This Guy!

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KellyRusk_2014Volunteer firefighter Lt. Kelly Rusk has been serving his community with Comox Fire Rescue for sixteen years, which is reason enough to love him, but we have more!

In 2010 he joined YANA’s Board of Directors and has been a dedicated and tireless volunteer ever since. Kelly is part of the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride committee, he is active in all YANA fundraisers and, like a firefighter, jumps in wherever he is needed. From research to heavy lifting to arial event photography, from the top of a firetruck ladder, we love that we can always count on him.

Lt. Rusk also has an impressive sweet tooth. Luckily he’s very good at sharing and can be relied on to have something confectionary in hand on the frequent occasions he stops by the YANA office. This may be what we love most about him.

Kelly is a consultant with Investors Group and lives in Comox with his lovely wife Robbie and their adorable dog Johnny Rotten.

Gear up for 2015 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride with training rides

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cyclists 2014Join Simon’s Cycles on the 25k or 50k official routes in preparation for one of the Comox Valley’s favorite cycling events. Anyone registered for the 2015 Ride on August 16 is invited to participate.

Cyclists will meet at Simon’s Cycles, Saturday, June 20 for this training opportunity with subsequent training rides happening June 27, July 4, 11, 18, 25 and August 8.

Those choosing the 50k route ride will meet at 8:45 am and leave at 9:00 am and should be prepared to complete the route in 3 hours maximum. The 25k route ride will meet at 9:15 am and leave at 9:30 am and be prepared to finish in 2 hours maximum. For more information about training rides, call Simon’s at 250-339-6683.

If you haven’t yet registered you can do so here. Cyclists registering before July 23rd will receive a commemorative t-shirt with the fantastic 2015 design.

Registration is open for August 16 Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride

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Please join us for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride for the love of riding and the love of YANA. The event is shaping up to be fantastic!  Free shirts to all participants who register before July 23 and to all volunteers who contribute to this spirited cycling event. Register here.



YANA beneficiary of artist’s talent

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28620comox09TheDanceYANA is about to get another cash infusion, thanks to the artistic talents of Merville resident Anne Davies.

Davies was recently announced as the “Overall Best of Exhibition Winner” in the inaugural Lilly Oncology on Canvas Canada Art Competition, for her entry, The Dance.

Lilly Oncology on Canvas Canada (LOCC) was created to help those affected by cancer cope with the emotional and physical effects of this disease, through the artistic representation of their cancer journey.

Davies has beaten cancer twice.

“I had been posting on the Canadian Cancer Connections site – it’s a site for people who either have cancer or have had cancer in the past – and I got a note from them saying there was this national competition,” said Davies. “I had posted my paintings on the site now and again but thought, OK I have never [entered a contest] before so I sent in a painting along with a 125-word narrative last September.”

Last week, Davies received notification that she had won the contest. She received a $2,000 first place prize, as well as two $250 prizes for winning two subsidiary categories. The prizes are awarded in the form of a donation to the charity of her choice. Davies has chosen You Are Not Alone.

She said that while there are a lot of worthwhile charities in the Comox Valley, YANA is special to her. Although Davies has never had to use YANA’s services before, she said as a parent, she has an intimate appreciation of the work the charity does.

YANA is a Comox Valley community organization that offers help to local families who need to travel to access medical treatment for their children.

“I chose them because they care for children and families,” she said. “I am a parent and nothing is worse than having a child in desperate need of care.”

Davies’ winning painting is called “The Dance”. She described the painting as an expression of her journey through two separate bouts of cancer.

“What I have come to know – and I don’t know if this is true for everyone – but from my experience, when you first hear you’ve got a cancer diagnosis, it’s overwhelming. It takes over everything and everything seems really dark,” she said. “Cancer doesn’t have a good track record. So it’s in the dance, because you struggle to leave fear behind and go towards health and happiness. That’s why there are two [scenes in the painting]. In the one, you’ll see the darkness, the moon and the sky. The bigger one is the dawn, and it is the dawn that brings the light.

“You have to keep positive when battling, and that’s the dance – the dance between the dark and the light. You are constantly struggling.”

She took her first painting course in the Comox Valley in 1999 and The Dance was painted at MusicFest.

“They have the people, and the tents lit up at night, and the moon to the left of the main stage – that was where it was painted,” she said.

Contest entries will be featured in healthcare centres across the country later this year.

by  Terry Farrell- Comox Valley Record

A Charming Letter From Pierce

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We received this letter from Grade 4 student, Pierce Gerritsen, and were reminded of all that is good in the world and in our schools. It is heartwarming to see kids helping kids and young people who want to make a difference in their community.  A shout out to teachers and parents who nurture this giving spirit. What a fantastic way to start YANA Week in the Schools!

Birthday Money Letter 2015

1st Tuesday Fundraiser, May 5th at the Mex

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Darwin Gagne of Campbell River will be performing an evening concert at the Mex Pub on May 5th, 6:30 to 9:30pm, as guest performer of the 1st Tuesday Fundraisers. His last band “Elmer Thudd” played around Campbell River and Comox Valley for many years, and audiences enjoy his guitar work on renditions of popular songs by James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Joel. Although the band is no longer playing, Darwin continues to play where he can house parties and open mics.  “I play whatever music catches my mood of the moment, and so I end up with an eclectic mixture of cover tunes and some original music,” says Darwin.
1st Tuesday Darwin Gagne, May 5, 2015
The evening concert is by donation, and proceeds will go to YANA (you can bring a non-perishable food item for the Comox Valley Food Bank). “We’re grateful to be included again, and happy that Darwin Gagne has chosen to support YANA and the local families that access our services with his music,” says Ocean Varney, Community Relations Coordinator at YANA.

“Darwin’s music is very appealing to audiences,” says event organizer Judy Wing. “My husband Bruce and I have hosted open mics in the Comox Valley for many years, and Darwin is a performer that patrons inquire about to know when they’ll get a chance to hear him again. If they don’t know him by name, they refer to him as the James Taylor guy, and we know just who they mean.”

Ladies Night!

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mix business with pleasure at this super annual event hosted by Central Builders.

central builders ladies night 2015