Annie is just one of the many children who will benefit from funds raised in the Help Fill a Dream mega 50/50 Draw. Photo submitted

Mega 50/50 draw to raise funds for Comox Valley kids

Help Fill A Dream 50/50 draw worth up to $25,000

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused problems for not-for-profits, especially those who rely on fun community events to raise funds.

Vancouver Island charity Help Fill A Dream benefits from a large network of volunteers who each year organize barbecues and raffles, hockey tournaments and gala dinners – all to collect donations that allow them to support children with life-changing medical diagnoses. There have been no events since February and at the moment the staff are not sure when the next fundraising event will be possible.

An additional challenge for Help Fill A Dream is that its audience are the very people who are at a higher risk from COVID-19. Parents with children who are already seriously ill and often immunocompromised will be taking no extra risks despite B.C. now moving towards less restrictions.

One fundraiser that is not cancelled though, is the one undertaken annually in Courtenay. That’s because the usual Courtenay fundraising Gala Dinner and Auction is going online this year, with a different approach to raise funds for seriously ill Comox Valley kids. This year’s fundraiser is a mega 50/50 draw. Help Fill A Dream will receive up to $25,000 in order to fulfil dreams and the winning ticket holder will receive up to $25,000 to fulfil their own dream. The final prize depends upon the total number of tickets purchased – the more entries, the bigger the jackpot.

It’s a low-cost fundraiser to organize, and because it is online, it is far-reaching as well. Anyone in B.C. can take part, wherever they live, as tickets are available for purchase with an e-transfer. Tickets are available now and through to Sept. 30 with the draw date set for Oct. 3, 2020. There are only 2,500 sets of three tickets so the chances of winning are high!

See https://bit.ly/2Cc0OhS for all the details and instructions about how to purchase your tickets.

Cory Labbey, Tania Woodbeck and the team behind the annual Comox Valley fundraiser have raised over $125,000 in the past six years. With the Mega 50/50 they hope to take that total to $150,000: all of which goes to support filling Dreams for children in the Comox Valley region who are critically ill.

One child who will benefit from funds raised this year is seven-year-old Annie. At only three years old Annie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Later that year she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as well. Diabetes and Crohn’s disease are an extremely challenging combination of conditions to manage. Annie had to be tube fed for four months and it is a continual struggle to keep her diabetes numbers at proper levels. Help Fill a Dream has already assisted Annie by providing a Dexcom monitor that checks her blood sugars every three minutes.

In January 2018 Annie was also diagnosed with epilepsy.

For a child like Annie, and for her family, the opportunity that a dream presents is more than just a trip, or a special activity. It is the chance to focus on something other than hospital appointments and medical treatments. Dreams are life-changing. They give families an opportunity to laugh and smile together, to feel joy and hope.

Cory and Tania have met several families over the years whose children have had Dreams filled. The families’ gratitude, and the stories that they’ve told about how significant the experience was, is what drives the pair to continue to fundraise each year.

The staff at Help Fill A Dream are still working to make the impossible, possible despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds raised from the mega 50/50 draw will allow them to support more families in the Comox Valley and make Dreams come true for seriously-ill children like Annie.

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