Experiencing premature labour at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Susanne Bazett, remembers the first tears she cried. “It was when they handed me an envelope from YANA. It became so real, our baby was coming early and we would need to transfer to Nanaimo. It was overwhelming.”
YANA envelopes containing emergency cash and an invitation for further support are given to local families with a child or an expecting mother who requires emergency transfer from the Comox Valley hospital. “It is one of the ways we connect with families who need to travel for medical care.” Says YANA Executive Director, Marcie Dumais.
“That was just the start of many tears,” recalls Susanne who delivered baby Eliza just an hour after arriving in Nanaimo. Complications with the premature birth resulted in yet another transfer, this time to Victoria. The next few weeks were filled with specialists, tests, and a third hospital transfer with YANA providing accommodation wherever Eliza’s family needed to be.
Through the stress and uncertainty Susanne says one thing still stands out, “Our faith in humanity was realized. The generosity, the kindness, the compassion of strangers when we needed it most. YANA connected with us immediately and whatever happened next, they were there to help.”
Several years prior, Paula Bazett, Eliza’s aunt, became a volunteer for YANA. She helps regularly at fundraising events.
“I had been aware of YANA for many years,” says Paula. “In fact they had helped with a similar situation in my family in the past. And then again with Baby E. I was inspired by this amazing support that was offered so unconditionally.”
Dumais has this to say about volunteers, “However they come to be inspired to help YANA, our volunteers become an inspiration to us. We can’t tell you how heart-warming it is when we look around at an event and see so many people giving their time and effort to make sure YANA can sustain its support to families.”
Paula adds, “So many people I admire are involved in giving to YANA in some way. It’s great to be surrounded with like-minded people and I hope to find more ways to be involved in the future.”
“There is never an obligation for relatives or clients themselves to contribute but it consistently happens, people are compelled to participate in the circle of giving and we are grateful to be the stewards of this beautiful generosity. It is really needed particularly as our services grow,” finishes Dumais.
Baby E, as she is affectionately known, is happy and healthy and thriving at home in Courtenay. To find out more about volunteering with YANA, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/volunteer/
June 9, 2017
Natasha Ardron, experiencing premature labour, is air lifted from Comox and transferred to BC Children’s Hospital. YANA connects with the family and an apartment and support is put in place.
June 14, 2017
Natasha and Paul Ardron deliver twins, Maverick and Matthias, micro-preemies at 24 weeks, each weighing under 2 lbs.
June 18, 2017, 4 days old.
Natasha and Paul announce the birth of their boys on Facebook. Remembering those first days, Natasha says, “People immediately began to reach out to us with offers of help.” After some discussion the couple made a decision to ask that help be directed toward YANA. “Luckily we live in a community that has something in place for families, through YANA we had what we needed.”
June 20, 2017, 6 days old.
Natasha posts on Facebook asking friends and family to support YANA Comox Valley. She suggests they attend an upcoming fundraiser hosted by Salish Seafoods and donate in the twins’ name. “Through everything they were experiencing it was deeply touching to have them advocate on our behalf,” says YANA Executive Director, Marcie Dumais.
June 27, 2017, 15 days old.
Matthias Rikley Ardron, no longer able to fight against the odds, passes shortly before 9pm.
August 20, 2017, 67 days old.
Team M&M (Team Matthias and Maverick), Grandma Verna, Grandpa Gary, and friends ride in the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride at Marina Park in Comox, raising $3,025 for Comox Valley families travelling for the medical care of a child or a pregnant mother. Team M&M inspires other cyclists and even more fundraising with the event raising $61,000. Grandma Ellie volunteers for the day. Paul visits the park in support. Dumais notes, “Being at Marina Park that day with Team M&M and other YANA families who were riding and volunteering really illustrates the circle of giving that exists around YANA.”
September 26, 2017, 104 days old.
Maverick breathes for one hour without his CPAP mask that helps inflate his lungs and deliver oxygen.
December 25, 2017, 194 days old.
Paul and Natasha celebrate Maverick’s first Christmas with nurses and staff at BC Children’s and the YANA apartments are a holiday refuge.
January 15, 2018, 215 days old.
Maverick says good-bye to his BC Children’s family and is on his way home.
February 23, 2018, 254 days old.
Paul and Natasha Ardron and family attend the YANA Big Love Benefit along with colleagues from Investors Group who help YANA by sponsoring the event. A photographic presentation of Maverick’s story is presented during the evening (https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/stories/maverick/). $122,000 is raised for YANA.
Natasha reflects on the role of YANA in the community, “Everyone’s support of YANA came back full force to us, as well as to other Comox Valley families.”
Settling in to their ‘new normal’ at home in the Comox Valley, the Ardron family still faces some challenges, including Maverick’s chronic lung condition. They also consistently celebrate many firsts including their son’s first trail walk, first swim, first spaghetti, and the first day of spring.
To find out more about YANA events and how to get involved, visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/events/
Valley Vonka is not only bringing some big excitement to town this spring but it is raising funds for You Are Not Alone (YANA).
“A significant portion of our donations come from community fundraisers,” say YANA Executive Director Marcie Dumais. “These are businesses, groups, or individuals who independently organize some kind of fundraiser with YANA as the beneficiary.”
Jordan Marshall of Hot Chocolates was happy to get involved as a title sponsor. “When we started Hot Chocolates thirty-two years ago, we decided we wanted to support things that lifted children up. YANA is all about kids, it’s local, and Valley Vonka involves chocolate. For us it’s a perfect fit.”
“Community fundraising is all about finding that fit,” says Dumais. “For some it’s a charity BBQ, for others a raffle, we recently had a young man recite over a thousand digits of Pi from memory for pledges to YANA.”
The common denominator in community fundraising is the desire to support local families who need to travel for the medical care of a child under 19 or a pregnant mother.
“We are truly grateful for all the unique ways our community finds to support us,” continues Dumais. “These fundraisers play a huge role in our ability to deliver services to families.”
One of these families is the Wallace family. Claire Wallace was born with an arm and hand that didn’t move and despite the hopes of doctors and her parents the condition did not improve with time.
“We travelled to BC Children’s Hospital so many times in the first few years,” says Claire’s mom. “Luckily through friends we found out about YANA.”
By the time Claire was six it was determined that a major surgery was needed and YANA was able to assist the family during their stay in Vancouver and has been able to support their subsequent follow-up visits.
Coincidentally, Claire’s grandmother has worked alongside Marshall for the past twelve years at Hot Chocolates.
“We are such an interconnected community,” says Dumais. “Those connections can inspire some very special generosity and allow us to be there for children like Claire as long as we are needed.”
To find more information on hosting your own YANA fundraiser visit https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/fundraise/
Any day is better with a little pie.
Jack Boan would agree but in his case it’s ‘a lot’ of ‘pi.’
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to diameter, an irrational number that never ends. ‘Pi Day’ is celebrated each year on March 14 or 3.14, the first digits of pi.
Since first grade Boan has been memorizing the digits of pi and reciting them on Pi Day. Several years ago he started using the occasion to fundraise for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
The 13-year-old Grade 8 Mark Isfeld student will be at it again next Wednesday, all in the name of YANA.
“Jack is an example of somebody taking something they love to do and using it to benefit the community,” said YANA Community Relations Co-ordinator, Ocean Varney. “He was inspired to help because he knows families that YANA has helped. In turn he is inspiring others; it’s pretty awesome!”
YANA offers funding and accommodation to Comox Valley families who need to leave the community for the medical care of a child under 19 or pregnant mother.
Last year Boan memorized 808 digits of Pi and raised more than $1,000 for YANA.
He’s hoping to improve on both counts this year.
To pledge Boan you can donate to YANA directly at https://www.yanacomoxvalley.com/donate/ (mention Pi Day in the notes) or through the YANA office.
Nationally ranked with his official count of 808, Boan is the sixth-ranked Canadian on the Pi World Ranking List.
The top Canadian is Chun Wang, who recited 8,148 digits of pi on Pi Day last year.
The world record holder is Suresh Kumar Sharma of India, who recited 70,030 digits of pi on Oct. 21, 2015. It took him 17 hours and 14 minutes to complete his recital.
Boan is ranked 166th worldwide.
Jilli, Katrina and Farley play for YANA at the Mex Pub, March 6
The next 1st Tuesday Fundraiser, sponsored by the Mex Pub, will take place March 6 with featured guests the Jilli Martini Trio. Proceeds from the admission donation will benefit YANA, You Are Not Alone.
YANA Comox Valley provides funding and accommodation to families with children under 19, or to pregnant mothers who need to leave the Comox Valley for medical care. Last year, YANA helped with almost 400 medical trips and 53 emergency transfers. YANA helps ease financial and logistical challenges that families face in being away from home so that they can concentrate on the care of their child.
“1st Tuesday Fundraisers at the Mex are such a unique way to fundraise. We are thrilled that Jilli Martini is playing,” said YANA Community Relations Co-ordinator, Ocean Varney. “Jilli is a great YANA supporter and we’re looking forward to a really fun night. We hope the community will come down and check it out.”
The Jilli Martini trio consists of Jilli Martini, and a mother and son dynamic, Katrina and Farley Mifsud.
Martini is a well-known Comox Valley singer/performer. Jill and her various groups can deliver a solid dance-party band, guaranteed to rock your event, but can also be the laid back acoustic show of favourite tunes, up close and personal. Either way, you will be swept away with the ‘feel good’ energy as they entertain you.
Lead vocalist, Martini, can belt out a rock tune or sweetly serenade a gentle ballad. She has a wide vocal range – from clear and pure to deep, gritty and raspy.
Katrina, a self-taught musician born in England, would set out to busk in the streets of Leeds as a young teenager. Her musical endeavours were cut short and put on the back shelf to raise a family. After many years, Katrina has recently picked up her guitar and is playing once again, now alongside her talented son, Farley.
A gifted young player, Farley’s powerful connection with music is unmistakable when he plays his guitar. Music isn’t just something he does, but who he is.
The three share a deep passion for music. Their tastes and tones align naturally. Their selections of covers vary dramatically and many are on the more obscure side, but still pleasantly familiar to listeners. Their song list consists of classic rock (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty) to country and folk (Dolly Parton, Carole King, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash) and modern day (Evanescence, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Katy Perry). Their ability to rock out with their chill vibe and casual style makes them a crowd favourite in any setting.
The Comox Valley Food Bank, a regular at the event, will be there to accept food donations for families in need.
The evening will start at 7:30 with a few tunes by hosts Lainie Laughlin, Corey Francis and guest host Perry Johnson.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our online auction! Bidding closed February 20. You will have received an email if you were a winning bidder. Purchased items can be picked up on or after February 27th at the YANA office. Office hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10am – 2pm. #102-2456 Rosewall Crescent, Courtenay (250) 871-0343.
Running until Feb. 20 at 9 p.m., YANA presents their first Big Love On-Line Auction with all proceeds benefitting YANA Comox Valley.
For over three decades, YANA has been hosting an annual dinner and auction to raise funds for local families who need to travel outside the community for the medical care of a child under 19 or a pregnant mother.
“The Big Love Benefit Dinner and Auction is our biggest annual fundraiser,” says YANA president Kelly Rusk.
“It remains a wonderful evening filled with generosity from our sponsors, donors and guests. However, we have always been aware that we are limited by the size of the venue and nature of the event.”
Over the past years, YANA has seen growing need in the Comox Valley related to medical travel which has resulted in significantly higher program costs. This has required the local charity to think creatively and to expand its fundraising.
“Bringing a piece of our biggest fundraiser online and opening it up to the wider community is something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Marcie Dumais, YANA executive director. “The business community and individual donors contribute greatly to auction, and we want to maximize their donations to our cause and increase the benefit their gifts bring to families.”
“Now everybody can find cool stuff, see the community’s generosity, and be part of the Big Love,” adds Dumais.
“We hope everyone will check it out,” said Rusk. “Remember to bid high and bid often for Comox Valley families.”
From February 7 (9am) to February 20 (9pm), YANA will be offering a new opportunity for the whole community to participate in Big Love through an online auction. Now everyone can see our community’s generosity, find cool stuff and be part of the BIG LOVE needed to support local families. Register now as a bidder so you are ready on February 7th!
This love potion is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Brad Harris, a full-time family physician by day and self-taught brewer by night (and owner of the Royston Nano Brewery), is undertaking his second brew-based fundraiser in partnership with Gladstone Brewing Company, this time producing the Love Potion NEVI (North East Vancouver Island) IPA.
Brad Harris (middle) stands with members of Gladstone Brewing Company and Beach Fire Brewing and Nosh House from Campbell River. Dennyse Harris photo
“It’s a juicy, sweet, hoppy – but not bitter – easy drinking beer,” explains Harris, shortly after he finished brewing the beer at the Courtenay brewery.
(Keeping with the love theme, musician Richard Spencer officially ‘blessed’ the yeast with love songs in order to make it happy as possible.)
The beer will be canned on Feb. 13, with 1,400 cans being individually hand-labelled by volunteers the morning of Feb. 14 – just in time for Valentine’s Day – for a release party that evening at Gladstone.
The canned beer will be sold at Cascadia Liquor Stores across Vancouver Island, as well as at the brewery. All proceeds will be split between YANA Comox Valley (You Are Not Alone) and the BC Children’s Hospital Oncology.
Nearly two years ago, Harris began his partnership with Gladstone Brewery, and created the Royston IPA. He hosted an It’s Not Just Beer, It’s Love event, with proceeds donated to YANA and BCCH Oncology.
The two organizations have close ties to Harris and his wife Dennyse.
In November 2012, their daughter Linden, then three-and-a-half years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of only 35 children in the province to get diagnosed with leukemia each year.
Following two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy and treatment at BC Children’s Hospital, Linden is now healthy.
While in Vancouver, Harris and his family depended on support from the Comox Valley – and particularly that of YANA, which provides accommodations and funding for local families who need to travel outside of the area for treatment for a child under 19 years of age.
RELATED: Doctor brewing up unique YANA fundraiser
“This is a perfect example of YANA and how the community comes together,” says Marcie Dumais, executive director of the organization. “The passion of Brad and Dennyse is such a good example of community support.”
Dumais notes events such as the Love Potion release is “so great because it’s so needed. There is an expanded need (of services from YANA) which leads to expanded program costs.”
Glasses, growler fills and cans will be available at the brewery beginning Feb. 14 in addition to Cascadia stores.
The release party runs from 4 to 10 p.m.
For more information, visit the Love Potion NEVI IPA Facebook event page or RoystonNanoBrewery.com.