Finn’s friends have formed landmark charity

From Lynn O’Malley: There aren’t many of us who can claim our lives have had the same immediate impact as that of a little boy named Finn.

Finn Sullivan was a Lynn Valley lad – brother to Sarah and Baird, son of Patrick and Samantha – who was diagnosed with cancer at 21 months and succumbed to his illness when he was three years old. We can all imagine the hole he left behind.

But – holy smoke! – that sure wasn’t the end of his story. That was the beginning of “Team Finn’s” determination to honour his life by raising funds to help alleviate the suffering of other families experiencing pediatric cancers, and ultimately to help fund a cure.

Since his passing in October 2008, Team Finn has raised over $1,000,000 for the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Yes, you read those zeros right – that’s one million dollars, raised via ongoing charitable adventures such as the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Children’s Hospital’s ChildRun.

Coming up are two great events for local supporters who might not be up to cycling across Western Canada (as Finn’s dad, Patrick, did last year!)

A Team Finn Wine Tasting Festival at Seymour’s Pub takes place on Wednesday, April 4 from 6 to 9 p.m., where you can enjoy 19 different wins, great appies and a super silent auction. The $35 tickets must be purchased in advance, and all details are on this poster.

On Saturday, April 7, Escape Adventures will host a Team Finn Family Day and take families for a cycle tour of the Seymour Demonstration Forest. The $25 fee covers a family of four for the 90-minute expedition. Registration details are here.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have the support of our Lynn Valley community and think these events are a wonderful opportunity to continue to support Team Finn,” says his mom, Samantha Mason.

Well, we at LynnValleyLife think our community is pretty lucky to be home to special families like this one. We look forward to hearing more about the amazing achievements of Team Finn and its many supporters.

For more information, visit www.teamfinn.com.

 

 

LV artist exhibits work at district hall

 

Local artist lives a colourful life

Lynn Valley artist Ishrat Khan has experienced a rich life, including immigrating to Canada from his native India in 1965. Yet another highlight will be the exhibition of his work in the District Foyer of North Vancouver District Hall, beginning with a reception on April 4 and continuing through to May 29.

We wanted to learn more about this artistic Lynn Valley resident, so asked Ishrat a few questions about his craft, and his life since moving to this community in 1996.

How would describe the type of art you create?  
Contemporary; semi-abstract.

What’s your ‘artistic journey’ been to date? Have you always painted, or have you worked in different genres? 
It’s been great to be able to express feelings through painting; I have been painting since my high school years. It’s a wonderful pastime; it’s very fulfilling and keeps me out of trouble.

Do you work alone, or take part in some sort of artists’ community?
As far as painting goes, I have always worked alone, except for shows where I have displayed works with others.

What inspires you to create works of art?
Inspiration comes from people, surroundings in Canada and through my travels in Asia. Vancouver’s West End and Stanley Park have always inspired me to paint.

What do you do with your finished pieces?
Usually sell them.

Can you tell us about one or two of your favourite pieces?
The Kayakers, Mountain Highway, Brick Crushers Bangladesh.

What are some of your other hobbies?
Mostly tennis – I play on the Boulevard and at the Grant Connell Tennis Center in North Van, and at the Stanley Park Tennis Courts.

Can you tell us a bit about your ‘day job’?
Looking after the cat!

How can people see or learn more about your work?
The best way is to visit my website: www.ishratkhan.com

Win tickets to see LV actress in soccer mom saga

Jenny Mitchell is a Lynn Valley mom like many others – she loves heading out on the trails, hitting the library, and socializing at Browns. Her kids, Dylan and Evan, go to Lynn Valley Elementary and play baseball and soccer.

Not many local moms, however, get to play a maternal alter-ego on stage. But that’s what Jenny will be doing when the show Secrets of a Soccer Mom opens at Presentation House on Friday night.

Jenny plays Lynn, one of three moms taking part in an informal soccer match against their eight-year-old sons. What starts out as a friendly game, though, becomes something else entirely as the afternoon progresses and the moms make surprising discoveries about themselves, their children and each other.

Jenny describes Lynn as “a PAC mom, who takes on lots of volunteer tasks and is always eager to help out for the kids’ sake.   But her enthusiasm is short-lived when she starts to realize that people might be taking her for granted.”

Perhaps there are some moms in Lynn Valley who can relate?! Either way, the play sounds like it’s filled with laughs and good conversation-starters. It runs from March 1 to 10, so get your tix now!

Fortunately for LynnValleyLife readers, we have two to give away. Just tell us one more arts event you’ve enjoyed right here in Lynn Valley – at a school, in the village square, or ?? – and we’ll put your name in a random draw. Winner will be announced Wednesday evening, so get your entry in now, either via our Facebook post or by emailing info@LynnValleyLife.com. Deadline: Wednesday, Feb. 29th at 5 p.m.

LV locals make recovery in VGH Burn Unit a little easier

COMING TO YOU FROM LYNN O’MALLEY: Greetings, neighbours! I was really looking forward to telling you the story of how a generous donation from the Lee family (owners of the Mountain Market corner store at Mountain Highway and Frederick) resulted in a domino effect that benefitted people not just in Lynn Valley, but from Metro Vancouver and beyond.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t improve upon the following account, written by a Lynn Valley Elementary School dad, who relates how the Lees’ donation of hundreds of prime DVDs snowballed into something his family could never have imagined. So I’ll let him tell the tale (he remains anonymous by request), and when he’s finished I’ll let you know how you can play a part in creating this happy ending.

It all started with a group of very passionate nurses who banded together and created a Facebook page “Donate your DVD’s to VGH please!” to help replace the Burn Unit’s DVD collection that was stolen! Yes, that’s right…stolen!

Just think: other than the entertainment value that movies provide for most people, for some of the patients on this unit, it’s ALL the entertainment they get.

 Well, it just so happened that I knew of two boxes of DVDs that were looking for a home.  The two boxes were left over after Lynn Valley Elementary School’s thrift shop fundraiser, whereby all of the families donate “lightly used” goods so that the students can purchase items at thrift shop prices.  

The presents are then wrapped, on site, in order for them to give something to their parents or siblings during the holiday season.

 The Lynn Valley PAC uses the proceeds to help with the ever-increasing amount of wonderful programs and initiatives they undertake throughout the school year. The kids love it, and there are many volunteers and donors that make it a success.

The biggest donor of the DVDs was the Lee family, of the “Mountain Market”, who are parents in the school.  Their thoughtfulness and community spirit led to money being raised, programs being run, gifts being given, items being replaced, smiles on many faces and the realization that it only takes a little selflessness to make a huge difference.”

 We all love good news stories (in movies, yes, but especially in real life!), and we all love the chance to play a role in them. So if you would like to contribute to making life just a little more entertaining in the Burn Unit, please have a look in your collection to see if you have DVDs that could use a new home.

The fine folk at Mollie Nye House (940 Lynn Valley Rd.) have agreed to act as a drop-off point for the DVDs, and will be accepting your donations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays until the end of March. Our anonymous dad, above, will be delighted to take them to VGH for us.

PLEASE make sure that your contribution is in perfect playing condition – nothing worse that having your viewing interrupted by scratches and glitches!

Thanks to everyone at Lynn Valley Elementary who got this ball rolling, and thanks to all you Lynn Valleyites in advance who will keep it going strong!

Bob McCormack spends his life making shade for others

FROM THE EDITOR: The Greeks said it best: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

They must have been thinking ahead to people like Bob McCormack, who – now 70 years old – has spent most of his life ‘planting trees’ of one kind or another for his native Lynn Valley community.

“I won’t see the fruits of most of these [long-term] projects,” Bob acknowledged recently over coffee at Delany’s, one of his favourite places to meet with fellow citizens working on issues around the town-centre development and future transportation systems. But he doesn’t show any signs of slowing his pace.

“There’s something inside me that always makes we want to say ‘yes’,” he chuckles, as he recounts just some of the roles he’s played over the past few decades. They include everything from coaching football to sitting on the rec commission to years spent serving on the boards (often as chair or vice-chair) of groups such as the Lynn Valley Community Association, the North Shore Disability Resource Centre, Greater Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses, Silver Harbour Centre, the arts council, and the Mollie Nye House standing committee.

In fact, most people are so familiar with Bob’s many volunteering hats, they may well have forgotten that he had a long professional life as well, starting in the White Spot commissary – he knew “Uncle Nat” Bailey well – and ending with his retirement in 2003, from a position as purchaser for the Vancouver Coastal Health District, responsible for food services and capital buying.

Given all the achievements Bob has played a role in over the years, I was curious to know what he’s most proud of.

“I was really happy when the district started listening to the needs of physically challenged people,” he said, pointing to improvements in sidewalks and street corner buttons that have helped a much wider range of people be independently mobile. And he’s proud to say that the recreation commission, too, has greatly expanded its offerings to encompass people of all abilities.

Personally, though, one of his definite highlights was getting a last-minute call to step in and be a torchbearer when the Olympic flame was run through Lynn Valley on Feb. 10, 2010.

From having his photo taken with the torch on the suspension bridge – an image that appeared worldwide via Reuters – to having his picture taken with hundreds of local revellers at the Valleyfest celebrations in Lynn Valley Village (which, of course, he’d spent hundreds of hours helping to plan), Bob says “it was amazing and I loved it all.”

One of the things he remembers well is the Quebecois ‘handlers’ who were travelling with the torch telling the driver of the pace vehicle in Lynn Canyon Park to “go slow – this is the most beautiful place we’ve seen on the route so far.”

Bob’s community pride is evident in most of his comments, and he talks about all the wonderful people he’s crossed paths with over the years.

“A community is only as good as its volunteers,” he emphasizes. “The community isn’t its mayor and council. The community is what you put into it … and Lynn Valley is a prime example.”

Bob’s roots grow deeply in this neighbourhood, starting with grandparents who were involved with the Lynn Canyon concession stand in the 1940s and a dad who was a local firefighter.

Many of his growing-up years were spent living at 555 Fromme Rd. He could look across the gravel road to the site of what is now Argyle school, but was then a large acreage with only one house situated near the current James Buchanan Theatre. During the summer, 15 to 20 horses grazed the property, which stretched almost all the way down to Mountain Highway.

The Brier Block circa 1971

He’s a living repository of all sorts of other memories, too; he recalls the grocery store that used to be in the Waves coffee shop locale, and the Brier Block that was situated where the Petro-Can now stands, kitty-corner to the still-existing Fromme Block. He even remembers his grandfather telling him about a proposal that was being touted in the mid-20th century for a floating dance hall in Lynn Canyon. The idea was shot down; at that time, the various churches held sway in the valley and there was nary a drink to be had anywhere.

Fortunately, Bob and his wife Judy have 21 nieces and nephews, and 27 great-nieces and –nephews, who will take at least some of his memories of times past with them into the future.

Looking back now, Bob credits his volunteering spirit in large part to an accident – one that happened when he was 17 years old. He was a passenger in a car exiting out of a laneway near the site of the Black Bear Pub and driving onto Lynn Valley Road. The next thing Bob knew, he was waking up in a ditch – having been smashed by an oncoming vehicle – and was whisked to hospital, where he had to deal with the amputation of his leg.

He says that his immediate response – uncharacteristic, he says, for the free-spirited youth he’d been up until the accident – was to say, “Well, there’s no use in crying over spilt milk.”

He says the community was wonderful in the way it stepped up to support him and his family at that time, and he’s been joyfully paying back ever since.

“If I hadn’t lost my leg, I wouldn’t be sitting here now,” he says emphatically. “It changed my life. You just don’t know yourself until something happens.”

Well, Bob knows himself now, and so do hundreds of other Lynn Valley residents whose community has been enriched by his ongoing efforts. Thanks from all of us, Bob, for planting those many trees.

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen

New minister seeks to engage the neighbourhood

LIFE WITH LYNN O’MALLEY: If it seems like our website has been publishing a lot of news coming out of Lynn Valley United Church lately, there’s a good reason for it – there IS a lot of news coming out of Lynn Valley United Church lately!

That’s thanks in large part to the relatively recent hiring of a new Children, Youth, and Families minister, whose job it is to support both the United Church faithful as well as their neighbours throughout the wider community.

Christina Kinch is nothing if not energetic. This rock climber, hiking aficionado, and multi-certified yoga teacher is offering a free yoga class for girls in Grades 5 to 10, yoga by donation to all teens and adults of variable bendiness levels, free counselling to parents and families, and holistic healing sessions for children and youth – to name just a few of her neighbourhood outreach endeavours.

Christina brings to her post some pretty impressive credentials. Having graduated from UVic with a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care in 2007, she has put her skills to use in a variety of areas. She’s worked in child protection and youth psychiatric assessment. She’s given hands-on help to young folk with mental health issues or learning disabilities, and to pregnant moms struggling with addictions at B.C. Women’s Hospital.

While she doesn’t have formal clerical training, Christina grew up in the United Church in Summerland and worked summers at Naramata, the church’s retreat and conference centre in the Okanagan.

Over the next months, Christina is looking forward to finding out how to best support the families of Lynn Valley. “I want to offer relevant assistance, and not re-invent the wheel,” she said over a recent tea in Delany’s. “People will connect in where it is nourishing.”

Getting out into the community is a value shared by her colleague, LVUC minister Blair Odney (whose top-notch singing, described as ‘Lounge meets United Church’ we enjoyed at a recent Friday Night Live event!) Blair hosts a wide-ranging “Coffee and Questions” group at Waves on Thursdays at 3:30, to which anyone is welcome.

Christina has also started a new youth group for kids in Grades 7 to 9 (from 6 to 8 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month), and is contemplating working with volunteers to launch a homework club that will give kids a place to focus on their work and get help if they run up against something that has them stumped.

Christina and her community-minded congregation are devoting a great deal of energy to these neighbourhood programs, and for that LynnValleyLife gives them a big tip of the hat. Whatever your faith is, or isn’t, I know you’ll find a welcome any time you want to poke your head in the door.

LVL thanks conscientious carriers

It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and we’ve found the very same philosophy applies to a new business.

So we wanted to thank some of the young people in our village who have helped us spread the word about the launch of LynnValleyLife, our community website and real estate partnership.

 

North Shore News Winners

Left to Right: Jim Lanctot, Conner & Dalan Cruickshank, Kelly Gardiner, Jason Pascoe.

We asked the Lynn Valley North Shore News carriers to distribute the two Sunday door-hangers that were delivered to your home last month. The notices announced that local residents could receive a coupon – one at Delany’s, or one at Lynn Valley Meats – for signing up for our free LynnValleyLife Network.

Hanging our notices on each and every doorknob in town definitely took some extra effort by the carriers, and we wanted to thank those kids who took the time to do a good job.

So the North Shore News distribution department performed a telephone survey to find out which routes had had their door hangers delivered properly, and entered those carriers in a random draw for prizes supplied by LynnValleyLife.

We were delighted to give the awards (giftcards to Lynn Valley’s Browns Social House and Romance Jewellers) to brothers Conner and Dalan Cruickshank – who share the Laura Lynn townhouse route – and Jason Pascoe, whose beat includes 80-odd homes on Dempsey, Hoskins, Evelyn and Underwood.

We complimented all the boys on going the extra mile to make sure the notices were hung on the doors as requested – not stuffed in the paper, or left on the step – but they shrugged off the praise. “Just part of the job” was the common refrain.

But jobs can be done well, or they can be done poorly, and we were proud of these guys for choosing to do theirs well. And grateful – because a community website isn’t much use unless the community knows about it!

We’ll be counting on carriers like Jason, Dalan and Conner to deliver a third coupon that’s coming to your door in late January. Thanks to the first two doorhanger campaigns, we were able to meet with hundreds of new LynnValleyLife Network members when Kelly and Jim dropped off their coupons.

If you missed out on the chance to get your coupon, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out if quantities allow. And if you know a person, young or old, who would bring the same high standards to a newspaper route, the North Shore News invites you to fill out this application!

 

Moms get a boost from Spectrum founder

FROM THE DESK OF LYNN O’MALLEY:

Here at LynnValleyLife, we are grateful to the North Shore News for running our editor’s story about the amazing mission of Lynn Valley resident Sally Livingstone.

When you meet someone like Sally, you tend to want to do everything you can to spread the word about the work done by Spectrum, a charity she founded to match up struggling moms with caregivers and volunteer mentors.

As you can see in the story, the support the moms receive (whether it is a ride to a doctor’s appointment, a listening ear, or hands-on childcare help) has in many cases made the difference between the mom being able to successfully care for her child herself, or having to surrender her infant to foster care. In fact, two of Spectrum’s former clients are now mentors themselves!

Sally may already be familiar to some of you as she was the founding manager of the Lynn Valley Medical Clinic and worked there for ten years before becoming a full-time instructor at Capilano University.

Donations of time, money, and hampers at Christmas are always needed to help further Spectrum’s fine work amongst mothers who have few other resources. For more information, visit Spectrum Mothers Support Society.

 

Gilmour new to campaigning, but not to community

So what’s it like running for municipal council for the very first time? To find out, I cornered Lynn Valley’s John Gilmour in Delany’s and convinced him to take a break from pressing the flesh and handing out election brochures.

We found a corner table and he told me what his life’s been like ever since he stepped down as president of the Lynn Valley Community Association and threw his hat into the ring for North Van District council.

In some ways, this is nothing new for John – he grew up at the knee of mother Sheila Gilmour, a widely accomplished community volunteer in her own right, and John has spent many of his recent years helping usher events such as ValleyFest 2010, Lynn Valley Days, and community-planning workshops into our neighbourhood.

But North Vancouver District is a big place, and during his campaign John has learned the importance of having a team. “I have to really rely on them,” he said over ginger peppermint green tea (he’s currently abstaining from sugar and caffeine in a bid to keep his immune system strong in the lead-up to the election), “I just can’t be everywhere myself.”

Which is too bad, because John clearly enjoys meeting new people. He spends a lot of time in Delany’s North Vancouver locations, talking to people about their thoughts on civic issues, and is never happier than when he’s out knocking on doors. He’s been pleasantly surprised by the almost universally positive reception he’s received from strangers.

John thinks running for municipal office is actually quite welcoming to newcomers like him. There is no fee to run, and you need only two people to nominate you to get yourself on the ballot.

The big hurdle, of course, is unseating an incumbent. In municipal politics especially, voters often cast a ballot based solely on name recognition, despite not knowing a thing about that councillor’s views or track record. (Remember, you don’t HAVE to tick off six names on the ballot … if there are only one or two people you are familiar with and want to support, you are able to mark off their names only and leave the rest blank.)

But John does have a leg up in another area. Thanks to a random draw, his name will be at the top of the ballot, an advantage that is said to boost one’s tally by as much as five per cent.

But here at LynnValleyLife, we’re hoping citizens won’t be voting by name recognition or ballot position, but a good understanding of the candidates and their views on local issues.

Information about all-candidates’ meetings and advance polls can be found on the municipal website here: http://www.dnv.org/article.asp?c=764, and John will be holding a casual meet-and-greet at the Lynn Valley Delany’s Tuesday night (the 15th) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can learn more about his views on helping residents live, work, play and retire all within their North Vancouver town centres, and check out his website www.vote4John.net for more information.

Running a campaign, whether for the first time or the fourteenth, takes a big investment of time and resources. Hats off to all the candidates, especially the new kids on the block.