General News

Thank you YANA riders and supporters!

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More than 300 riders put their creativity and bikes to work from August 1-15, 2021 by participating in the chart-your-own-course, virtual version of this integral, annual fundraiser. 

Through a summer like no other, even in the midst of holidays, beach days, long-anticipated road trips and travel, this incredible community still showed up. You ‘Everested’, you climbed, you cruised (some of you crashed), but no matter how you showed your support, you found a way to make it your own and celebrate YANA any way that you could. 

To the riders, the donors, the sponsors; to the giant-hearted YANA supporters from across the Comox Valley and beyond, to say ‘thank you’ is hardly enough for the $77,000 that, together, we raised for families in our community. You truly showed every YANA child that even through the darkest of days, they are not alone. 

Plans are already underway for a hybrid event in 2022!  Mark your calendars now to ride for YANA between August 1-21st and join other riders and supporters for the Party in the Park on August 21. 

Bikes Will Keep Us Together, One Pedal at a Time

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record – May 26, 2021

Registration ongoing until August 15!

The 2021 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride is ramping up for another fully flexible, socially distanced virtual biking event. While the world makes its way through the final stretch of a pandemic that has changed the way we do things, the YANA Ride organizers are making sure that bikes will continue to keep us together as we see our way through to the other side.   

Registration for the 2021 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride will open online on June 1st.

Last year’s re-vamped, virtual fundraiser was YANA’s most successful ride yet, and this year’s event is set to be no different. Between August 1-15th, participants can choose the when, where, and what for their ride, in order to raise pledges in support of the charity’s funding and accommodation programs that provide help for children and pregnant mothers required to travel outside of the community for medical care.   

Creativity is key, and the endless choice of roads and trails are the only maps needed for riders to chart their own path.  Whether you set out to ride solo or gather a crew, bike a kilometre or two, or plan an across-the-island adventure, this year is all about creating a ride that fits with the current health protocols, but equally important, also means something to you.

Organizers are excited to be adding a 50/50 draw to the event this year. “The online 50/50 was a huge success for us at our Big Love event in February.  Our lucky ticketholder won over $10,000! There have been some incredible jackpots for charity 50/50 draws across the province in the last few months, like over $100,000 and $300,000 big”, said YANA Executive Director Kelly Barnie.  “We know how much our supporters would love to see that kind of money be raised for YANA families, and we would sure love to hand over that kind of cheque to a lucky winner.  The 50/50s really are a huge win-win!”.  There will also be an online auction loaded with a variety of bike gear and accessories thanks to Comox Valley Bike Co. and their generous suppliers, along with many other great items to bid on. Prizes for every fundraising rider and top fundraiser prizes, including the coveted original YANA Ride T-shirts courtesy of Dr. Andreas Conradi will make a return for the 2021 event as well.

Registration opens June 1st and is available by any donation, big or small. For more information and to sign up for this year’s event, visit Together, we will let Comox Valley families know that we’re a community that goes the distance for one another, one pedal at a time. 

Ali, Nick, & Blake, A YANA Family Story

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record – July 28, 2021

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

Team McQueen is decked out and ready to take donations and ride for YANA families in this year’s Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride. This is the 3rd year Nick and Ali Usher have participated in the organization’s annual event, and they have every reason in the world to come together to give back to YANA. 

The Usher’s were first introduced to YANA 3.5 years ago when their youngest son, Blake, was born 15 weeks early by emergency c-section at St.Joseph’s hospital. Shortly after an emotional and challenging delivery, Blake was air-ambulanced to Victoria General Hospital and his parents prepared to follow close behind. Before they left the hospital Nick and Ali were given a gift from YANA that would change the course of their time away from home. 

“The nurses just handed us this envelope, it says YANA on it, and you open it and there’s all this cash in it and you’re like, “whoa, whoa, what’s this for?” shares Ali, who was blown away by the no-strings-attached gift they received from the organization. 

The $200 gift was just the beginning of the support they would receive from YANA. The cash funds were made available through the Hospital Emergency Funding Program, designed to provide immediate help to families who are transferred out of the community for medical care. Nick connected with YANA shortly after they arrived in Victoria, and immediately many of their worries melted away. 

“Nicks’ like, ‘I got this email, they said they’d call us in the morning. We don’t have to pay for anything.’ “ Ali tells us, moved by the memory of how quickly and completely YANA stepped in to help with monthly financial support, as well as covering the cost of their accommodations at Jeneece Place.

And that was only the beginning for the Usher family. Blake spent 6 months in the Victoria Hospital NICU, and the family would have many more trips to come. 

“All of the appointments following him coming home started coming in. You have your neonatal follow-ups, child development, multiple surgeries”, says Ali, who feels lucky their situation wasn’t more difficult. “You think about these other kids and families that are traveling way more than us. It’s the funding to go, the gas to go, the food to go, the organization to go, the missing work to go. It’s a lot and it adds up.” 

Blake was recently discharged from the neonatal follow-up program, but the family continues to make trips to Victoria for a diagnosis the family received for him last year. 

“He (Blake) got diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy last January (2020), and so he’s had more follow-ups with an orthopedic surgeon in Victoria that we go down to see.” says Ali. The family makes many of these trips each year, and YANA’s support has made a tremendous impact, one that has trickled down to friends and family who are also eager to give back to YANA’s cause and are excited to be participating in Team McQueen for this year’s Ride. 

“This is our first year as a team fundraising all together”, says Ali. “Last year we were together, fundraising individually. We were like, why aren’t we doing this together? Let’s make a big team and let’s make as much money as we can.” 

Team McQueen, which consists of Blake’s grandmother, aunts, and other close family members, has a goal of riding 25km and raising at least $5000. The team has a route picked out that Nick tells us consists of just about every hill in Comox, and a few rest stops along the way like Point Holmes beach and Blue Haven blueberry farm. Team members will take turns pulling Blake in the bike trailer, which the team has decked out in bright signs displaying their support for YANA. 

“If you’re donating, you’re donating exactly back, dollar for dollar, right back into your community to your own friends and family”, says Ali, “you never know when you’re going to be in a situation when you’ll need YANA’s help.”

To find out more, donate, or register for this year’s ride, visit:


RBC to Match Donations up to $5,000

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RBC Wealth Management investment advisors, Don Somers, Brian Balfe, and Sean Martin are ready to make your donations grow for this year’s Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride! 

Between July 16-25, they have set a goal of helping YANA supporters raise $10,000 in just 10 days. All donations made to YANA Ride participants will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. 

The Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride is one of the organization’s largest annual fundraisers. Last year’s virtual event was a huge success, despite setbacks brought on by Covid restrictions. 

YANA’s executive director Kelly Barnie explains, “We are so grateful to this community’s generosity through a difficult year for everyone. The need for support remains integral to families in our community, and we are so grateful to these three generous donors who have stepped up to double donations for this year’s Ride.”

It’s easy to make sure your donation is matched! Between 9am on July 16th and 11:59pm on July 25th:

  1. Make a pledge to a rider
  2. Head to YANA’s Facebook or Instagram @YANAComoxValley, like the “10 Grand in 10 Days” post
  3. Comment on that same post tagging the name of the rider you supported.

There’s never been a better time to make a difference with your dollars and show your support for Comox Valley families!

To register to ride, or make a donation to a rider that will be matched by Brian Balfe, Don Somers and Sean Martin of RBC Dominion Securities, go to 


Ride WHAT You Like

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The 2021 Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride is just around the corner, and there is something for everyone. This year’s ride is a fully-flexible event where participants can choose the ride of their liking. If it’s got wheels and it’s person-powered, it fits the bill for this year’s cycling event.

Whether you rock the road, mountain, or cruiser bike, or prefer a stationary bike in the comfort of your living room, you can ride for Comox Valley families and help YANA reach their $100,000 goal for this year’s event. 

“Last year’s ride blew our socks off. The community’s response to our totally re-imagined event was beyond what we could have hoped for.” says Kelly Barnie, YANA’s executive director. “Creating a flexible event has made it possible for anyone to participate, no matter their skill level, location, or what kind of biking they like to do. Our goal this year is bigger than ever, and we really think this community has what it takes to get there.”  

Watch out for riders of all kinds between August 1-15th. 

To register or donate to a rider, visit:

Ride Where You Like!

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Read more

Ride When You Like!

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record – June 30, 2021

Got the itch to travel and a jam-packed summer?

No problem!

The 2021 Comox Bike Co YANA Ride is a fully flexible event where participants can gather pledges and get on their bikes anytime between Aug. 1-15. Over 100 riders are already registered and gathering donations for this year’s event!

Registration is available by any donation, big or small. For more information and to sign up for this year’s event, visit



Celebrating 35 Years of YANA – Decades of Families, One Story

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Behind every YANA family there is a story. Behind every health challenge, every trip and appointment, there is a community rallying together to hold that family up. Each journey is different, but the feeling remains the same; no matter what, you are not alone.

April 1st marks YANA’s 35th Anniversary of serving Comox Valley Families. Through the years, through massive world changes and challenges, YANA was, is, and will always be an anchor of support and a reflection of the heart of this community, standing together to help families for decades to come.

A YANA Family Story – Kelly, Allan, & Cora

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In celebration of YANA’s 35th Anniversary we will be sharing a glimpse into the lives and stories of YANA families from across the decades, like Kelly and Allan, who encountered YANA’s support when they needed it most.

In June of 2020, Kelly Brown became critically ill and delivered her daughter Cora over 3 months early at Victoria General Hospital. During the family’s long stay away from home, YANA became the loving arms of a community that was there for them the whole way through.

“To know that we belong in the Comox Valley and have that big sense of togetherness, it’s just incredible. Sometimes you don’t feel the community is there to support you, and then you have a big fall-back, and it’s definitely there.” – Kelly Brown

Siblings both members of the YANA family

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record – April 19, 2021

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

When Karilyn Geiger was born in November of 1990, three and a half months early, she wasn’t much bigger than a banana. Weighing in at just 925 grams (approximately two pounds) she was a tiny fighter who eventually overcame the obstacles of her premature birth.

Brian and Sandy Geiger and their two-year-old daughter, Sabrina, were in for an emotional ride when Karilyn’s early arrival required them to leave the Valley for the mainland.

“We were dairy farmers in Black Creek” Sandy explains. “It wasn’t easy picking up and leaving, and we had this little one at home.”

Sandy’s labour couldn’t be stopped; baby Karilyn was determined to come early. Sandy was sent by air ambulance to Vancouver where she delivered her premature baby. She spent the next two months in the BC Children’s Hospital NICU before being transferred to Victoria General Hospital, and then back to St. Joseph’s in Comox.

Unsure where to turn, Sandy reached out to a friend back home, Carol, who was involved with YANA, an organization that was still quite new to the Comox Valley. She was able to connect Sandra and Brian with food vouchers and a place to stay, all provided by the organization.

“To us, it was just like a godsend,” said Sandy. “It was just amazing, I didn’t know what to do, we didn’t know what to do.”

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. Our purpose is to improve access to healthcare by providing travel funding and accommodation.

It was not only YANA’s support program that helped the family but Carol’s personal support that gave them hope and light through a dark and difficult time.

“Our family didn’t want to talk,” said Sandy. “We’d previously had a baby at 24 weeks and lost her. Having one at 26 weeks, they were scared to be positive about it. Having somebody there that would help walk us through it was something you don’t expect to have to deal with. She gave that hope that she was going to be okay.”

Karilyn was OK; after a long journey and 14 weeks spent in hospital, she returned home to parents and sister Sabrina, defying the odds for an infant born so early. But the family wasn’t finished with YANA yet. In 2001 their daughter Sabrina was diagnosed with a type of skin cancer that required treatment and surgery. The family found themselves back in Vancouver, reaching out to YANA once again.

Oak Manor apartments, YANA’s downtown accommodations that many YANA families staying in Vancouver still use today, became the Geiger’s home away from home.

“We were able to have the whole family together,” said Sandy. “When Brian wasn’t able to come over I could still go over with the girls. I think it made the process a lot better.”

The family has continued to stay connected with YANA and they’re huge supporters of the organization. Brian and Sandy describe Karilyn, their now-grown-up daughter, as tiny but tough, and a big supporter of YANA as well. She works and lives in Smithers, B.C. with her husband, and her parents tell us they’re both doing really well.

“It definitely took a village for everyone to get us through this, and it worked.”


There are 2,500 Valley Vonka chocolate bars available throughout the Comox Valley, with Golden Tickets randomly inserted into five of the chocolate bars.

Each golden ticket will be eligible to win one of the following grand prizes:

• Mount Washington Alpine Resort family passes

• The Old House Hotel and Spa gift certificates

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort, Spa and Restaurant gift certificates

• Canadian Tire $1,000 shopping spree

• Peninsula Co-op $1,000 gas card.

Total value of all prizes is $7,500.

The bars are available for purchase by donation (suggested $5 donation) at: