Charity is a binding act in any community, and every community seems to have its favourite charitable organizations.
Food banks are always high on the list.
Groups such as the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) or the SPCA, that deal with animals, always tug at our heartstrings.
Also among the favourites are the groups that battle for the preservation of our natural resources, such as the Cumberland Community Forest Society.
Then there are the groups that help sick children.
Of all charities, those are the ones that grip us so intimately.
In the Comox Valley, we have YANA – You Are Not Alone – a community organization that helps Comox Valley families who need to travel to access medical treatment for their children.
Of all the local charities, it is the one that people seem to go out of their way to support, and for good reason. Our children are our world. The thought of needing to care for them and not having that ability is terrifying for any parent.
So, when YANA has an event, residents in the Comox Valley respond with unbridled enthusiasm.
The annual YANA Dinner and Auction sells out so quickly, people have to set their alarms when the morning tickets go on sale, or they miss out.
(This year the dinner raised more than $70,000).
YANA’s second ‘big’ event every year is the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride, which goes this Sunday. It grows every year.
Last year 405 riders took part. This year, organizers reached their top-out number of 525 riders.
Add to that the hundreds of non-riding participants, there for moral, mental and financial support on the day, and by Sunday, Marina Park in Comox will be the busiest spot in the Comox Valley.
It’s not that YANA does anything that much differently as a non-profit society than any of the others; it’s the cause that stops us in our tracks.
Much like the food bank, it’s a service we all hope we never have the need for, but one we are extremely empathetic toward.
Last year’s YANA Ride raised more than $37,000. This year will surely exceed that.
Add to that a fundraising event happening at the Comox Golf Club on Saturday (see page 3), it’s likely that more than $50,000 will be raised for the charity this weekend alone.
YANA is one of those uber-local charities that the affected community embraces as its own. Hopefully, it will always be there, and hopefully your family will never need it.
To donate to the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride, go to bit.ly/1EkQ8CZ
Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record