Ladies in waiting

Ladies in waiting

Paddlers pull for families facing cancer

Paddle for Health returns to Willows Beach Park this Saturday under the lead of Don Lowther

Paddle for Health returns to Willows Beach Park this Saturday under the lead of Don Lowther, volunteer organizer and founder of the former Kayak for the Cure.

For the second consecutive year, the eighth annual paddling fundraiser will raise cash for the Vancouver Island chapter of the B.C. Childhood Cancer Parents Association.

“It always amazes me to see how people will come together to support people in need,” Lowther said. “We’re so lucky to live in a community full of such caring and generous people.”

A longtime volunteer with the Power to Be Adventure Therapy Society, Lowther was introduced to Susan Kerr, Vancouver Island liaison for BC CCPA, to start the fundraising link last summer when 72 paddlers raised just shy of $25,000.

Twenty-eight youth are currently in active treatment at the Victoria Pediatric Oncology at VGH clinic with an additional 87 on long-term follow-up. Through the association’s Vancouver Island Family Support Program, they’ve provided a handful of outings for 13 families with 21 children so far this year.

The program has also offered emergency aid in the form of fuel and food vouchers to more than 35 families. On-site support includes special lunches for busy clinic days and child life resources, including family crafts.

“Crafts went a long ways, it doesn’t sound like a lot but our child life specialist … she was able to buy what she needed,” Kerr said. “Some of the kids are really struggling with their health … Crafts really help the time go by, because some of these kids are getting chemo four days a week, all day with nothing else to do.”

The association is also looking to add a candlelight gathering in November for bereaved families. Families from across Vancouver Island will be invited to attend and have opportunities for round-table discussions, listen to guest speakers and discuss celebration of life events for their children who have lost their lives to cancer.  “I found support needed here on Vancouver Island for parents who have lost their child to cancer,” Kerr said. “The families now go over to Vancouver to have a celebration of life ceremony. What I would like, if nothing else, is to have a celebration here on the Island for families.”

They hope to include ongoing support for bereaved families into next year as well. “The candlelight gathering will get input from families as to what they would like to see,” Kerr said. “I’ve got some pretty keen bereaved parents who are involved.”

The BC CCPA Vancouver Island Support Program will also take on the adolescent and young adult group that has been running through Victoria General Hospital, supporting youth aged 13 to 20 in treatment and post-treatment. Primarily it’s kids getting together and doing recreational activities in a setting where everyone has had some similar experiences.

“It’s a hard age and when these kids are diagnosed with cancer their lives change and it can be very awkward,” Kerr said. “There’s a comfort level [with each other] there that you won’t find otherwise.”

They’ll also look at the increasing need to support those moving from in-treatment to palliative care. “That’s been a huge learning process for everybody,” Kerr said. “We’re looking to see how we can better transition.”

 

Paddle for Health is at Willows Beach on Sept. 12. Bring your own kayak, canoe or standup board, or register to paddle with a vessel provided. Visit paddleforhealth.ca to register or donate.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Colin Springford doing what he loved best, tending to his garden. (Linda Matteson photo)
Longtime farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read