Lisa Wilcox is getting ready to embark on her fourth Comox Bike Co. YANA Ride on Aug. 18, gearing up and training to undertake her biggest challenge yet: a 100 km scenic route around the Comox Valley.
The YANA Ride has become an annual community tradition for many families, and is an indispensable fundraising event for YANA, bringing in thousands of dollars each year to provide financial relief of travel and accommodation expenses for pregnant women and families whose children require medical support outside of the community.
Wilcox’s connection to YANA began over a decade ago when her newborn daughter needed care at BC Children’s Hospital. A social worker at the hospital mentioned the support she could receive through YANA, and Wilcox was moved by the generosity of the organization and her community.
Wilcox was able to rely on family support during their stay, but just knowing the option was available brought her peace of mind during a difficult time.
“It was such a relief to know that if I did need something, I could go back and ask them for help.”
CVRD Area B director Arzeena Hamir is a longtime friend of Wilcox. The two met one another through a food subscription program run by Hamir’s family-run business, Amara Farm. It was a simple Facebook post made by Wilcox seeking pledges for this year’s ride that led Hamir to get behind a dear friend and an important cause.
“Being a farmer, the timing of the ride just doesn’t work for us, so I’m super happy to support people who take on the challenge. She’s riding on my behalf too. She’s been so supportive of me and the farm, it’s a way to give back.”
Wilcox was one of the top five fundraisers for last year’s event, and said she did little more than ask for pledges on Facebook and email a few colleagues, noting that it doesn’t take much to rally support for a cause that the community truly values. And, fundraising has its perks: riders who raise $50 will receive an exclusive YANA Ride hat, and for every $100 raised will be entered in a draw to win two return tickets for travel to any Air Canada scheduled destination in North America. This year, a generous donor has stepped up. All pledges made between Aug. 1-15 will be matched up to $5,000. Pledges can be made by going to yanacomoxvalley.com and clicking the blue “Register – Pledge – More Info” button. When donors tag the rider they sponsored on YANA’s Facebook post, their donation will be doubled.
The opportunity to participate and donate carries on after the ride is done with a ‘Party at the Park’ at Marina Park. The whole community is invited to join in celebrating riders at the finish line, and can support YANA by donating on site, entering the 50/50 draws, enjoying the beer garden, or purchasing a T-shirt, hat, socks or other unique YANA gear at the merchandise tent. There will be live entertainment throughout the day and a Little Wheelers event for the youngest of riders. There’s something for everyone, and you’re guaranteed to see a familiar face.
“Reach out to a rider that you know and support them,” said Hamir. “Not all of us can be on the ride, so here’s your chance to now participate in supporting an organization that is so critical to the values and the fabric of the Comox Valley.”
The YANA Ride takes place Sunday, Aug. 18. For more information, to donate, or to register for the ride, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com