Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, and big sister Avery celebrate the arrival of their new pool on Nov. 16, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Oliver Finlayson, 9, and big sister Avery celebrate the arrival of their new pool on Nov. 16, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)
Crews hoist the pool into position on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)Crews hoist the pool into position on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)
A crew arrives with the new pool for Oliver Finlayson on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)A crew arrives with the new pool for Oliver Finlayson on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

It was a big day for Oliver Finlayson when his pool arrived on Monday, Nov. 16.

The pool will be a life-changer for nine-year-old Oliver, and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of the Cowichan Lake community. Through generous fundraising and in-kind work, the community made Oliver’s pool possible.

“I’ve never lived in such a special place where everyone still gives people the shirts off their backs,” Oliver’s mom, Amie Mattice said.

Oliver lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and time in the water is a big help in coping with the condition. Hydrotherapy helps him relax and helps him get stronger, not to mention that he just loves swimming. He was travelling to Duncan for hydrotherapy treatment at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, which was inconvenient enough before the facility shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week marks one year since the family started the process of buying and installing the pool.

“We started fundraising for a pool because we were sick and tired of going to Duncan all the time,” Mattice explained.

Among many other supporters, the Kinsmen Club, friends, family and the rest of the community have joined the campaign to help Oliver. The family has made more than $5,000 from collecting cans and bottles, and the Help Fill a Dream Foundation contributed $10,000.

“Lots of people have come together to fundraise,” Mattice commented.

Oliver was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a neuromuscular disorder, five years ago, shortly after the family moved to Lake Cowichan from Sooke. Among other effects, Oliver will lose the ability to walk as he grows up.

“By the early teens, the heart and respiratory muscles may also be affected,” reads an explanation on Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s website. “A diagnosis of DMD includes a shortened life expectancy and the expectation that eventually, equipment such as a wheelchair and respiratory aids will be required. With exciting new advances in research into DMD over recent years, incredible increases in quality of life and life expectancy are being experienced by patients.”

There are ways to stem the effects of DMD, such as hydrotherapy, and Oliver is taking part in a clinical trial at BC Children’s Hospital. He is aware of his condition, but that doesn’t make things easier for the family.

“He knows what’s going to happen,” Mattice said. “But it’s still not easy to talk about in front of him.”

The pool isn’t the only addition to the Finlayson-Mattice residence that has been made possible by the community’s generosity. Neighbours Al and Janene coordinated an effort between Karlite Manufacturing and Irly Bird to get a ramp built at the front steps, and another couple, Tonya and Chris Halusiak, got Coastal Concrete Works and Surespan involved in building the pad for the pool in the backyard.

Gary Miller also donated time and materials to help get the pool up and running.

“A lot of people have come together,” Mattice said. Even now that it is installed, the family still owes a good chunk of money for the pool. To get it paid off, they will continue to collect cans, and have a GoFundMe site set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-pool-for-oliver

cowichan valleyfundraiserLake Cowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

(Pixabay photo)
Emergency repairs underway on Phillips Road in Sooke

Sewage may have entered DeMamiel Creek and Sooke River

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Jail cell - Reporter file photo
Two of Greater Victoria’s most notorious teenaged killers have parole privileges extended

Derik Lord gets overnight privileges while Kelly Ellard’s are extended

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Smaller egg farmers find themselves in a David and Goliath situation when it comes to major producers and chain-grocery store shelf space. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island egg producer cries foul over ‘Island’ label

Egg farmer frustrated with regulations allowing mainland-laid eggs to be labelled ‘Island’

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled by fire at a Duncan-area school for the second time this week

Fire this morning at Duncan area middle school follows Monday blaze at nearby elementary

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
Police seek public’s help after ‘tire slashing spree’ in central Nanaimo

Ten reports of slashed tires in the last three days, say Nanaimo RCMP

Most Read