North Vancouver RCMP receive Queen’s Jubilee medals

It was slipped into our email inbox like any other press release from the North Van RCMP, but this one – we think – is rather special.

Twenty-two of our local RCMP officers, employees, and volunteers were recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to their community. Here at LynnValleyLife HQ, we were especially tickled to see the familiar face of Cpl. Richard De Jong in the back row (that’s him, third from the right – click if you want a larger image!)

picture of medal

Cpl. De Jong is the press officer who is always happy to answer our editor’s questions about things going on in our neighbourhood, whether it is police incidents people are wondering about or the ins and outs of helicopter searches at night. We’d like to give him a medal of our own, for all his prompt and patient replies!

So thanks again, Cpl. De Jong, and congratulations to all the RCMP members for their recently awarded honours and their work to make North Vancouver a good home to us all.

Our editorializing complete, the official press announcement reads as follows…

On October 18, 2012, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, Commanding Officer of E Division BC RCMP, presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to North Vancouver Detachment recipients. The Red Serge ceremony was held at RCMP Headquarters in Vancouver.

A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

C.O. Deputy Commissioner Callens spoke of the selfless dedication and professionalism exemplified by all of the recipients in serving their communities. RCMP officers, civilian employees and volunteers were honoured. A total of 22 medals were awarded to various staff of the North Vancouver Detachment.

Live Love Dance gala will support North Van mother

Many of you by now will have heard about the plight of Chelsea Steyns, a North Vancouver mother who grew up in Lynn Valley and has in the last few years borne not one, but two sets of twins.

Having two twin births isn’t the only amazing thing Argyle Secondary grad Chelsea has done – she is also well known as a highly accomplished dancer and, since 2008, the greatly respected creative director of the North Shore Academy of Dance.

But tragedy entered Chelsea’s life just three months after giving birth to her youngest children, Cash and Maxine, early this year. At that point doctors discovered she was suffering from an extremely rare, inoperable brain cancer.

Since then, the North Van dance community, along with Chelsea’s other friends and family, have rallied in force to raise the money needed to fund costly treatment in Texas. The therapy she is undertaking has shown great promise in its ability to battle her particular type of cancer, but as it is still in the trial stages, it is not insured.

The next big fundraising effort will be an incredible, star-studded evening of dance and delicacies at the Kay Meek Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Kay Meek Centre. Along with performances from about ten professional dance companies and individuals, audience members will enjoy valet parking and complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres during a silent auction reception. Tickets are $100; details and more information about Chelsea and the evening’s performers can be found at the Live Love Dance 2012 website.


Book, play to feature Lynn Valley mothers and daughters

About a year ago, North Vancouver women were invited to write a 2,000-word biography of their mother as part of a new project launched by the Mothership Stories Society. In October, a book launch and theatre production will give you the chance to be captivated by the stories that resulted.

Since 2004, the non-profit organization organization founded by Marilyn Norry has solicited, promoted, performed and published the stories of ordinary women written by ordinary daughters. But as participants in the various “My Mother’s Story” projects always discover, there is no such thing as ‘ordinary’ when it comes to talking about mothers and their varied lives – what’s astonishing in one family is commonplace in another.

You can read two hundred or so of these collected stories on the website archive, but next month you’ll have the chance to see several of the stories from the most recent North Vancouver project co-mingled in a dramatic presentation at Presentation House.

Of the 60 stories submitted by North Vancouver women, eight will be featured in My Mother’s Story: North Vancouver, and 41 will be published, along with photos, in an anthology that will also be launched next month.

The play is sure to evoke a variety of emotions, and provide the audience with many conversation-starters as they see a picture of North Vancouver’s social history emerge from the stories of some of its residents.

Happily, Lynn Valley daughters and mothers are well-represented. Pat Ceraldi writes of her mother, Dorothy McMillan, who lived the life of a diamond driller’s wife, moving from the dust bowl of the prairies to the wild outposts of northern Manitoba; to the glamour of Toronto and finally west to her Vancouver family.

Aranka Lukacs, client services representative at the Lynn Valley RBC, tells of her mother wanting the freedom that was denied people in Hungary during the 1940s and 5os and up to the 1956 Revolution, and how her search for that freedom brought her to Canada and a whole new world.

Maria Torres writes of her mother, who came here from Portugal at sixty years of age with two requests: the chance to learn English, and to get a job.

Other Lynn Valley writers include Suzanne Rayment, Jean Redpath, Sandy Crawford, Patricia Young, Janet Dysart, Peggy Trendell-Jensen, Suzanne Ristic (who is also performing in the play), and Grace Gordon-Collins. Each story is as unique as the woman who inspired it.

My Mother’s Story: North Vancouver runs from October 17 to 28; more information and ticket sales are to be found on the Presentation House website. For a sneak preview of some of the North Vancouver mother’s stories (or to learn how to write your own!) check out the My Mother’s Story website and have a look through its archives.

An update from the Harris family

Many people in Lynn Valley and beyond were moved to empathy and action by the plight of local mom Erica Harris, who has spent the summer battling an aggressive leukemia that was not responding to treatment. People and agencies moved heaven and earth to find her a bone marrow donor, but when one was finally found, it was determined that her leukemic cell load was still too high to enable a transplant. At that point, Erica was sent home to spend as much time as possible with her husband, Harley, and their two sons. It gives us much pleasure to share with you this update from Harley:

(Please continue to scroll down for a further update, dated Nov. 9, 2012)

Hello to our entire Circle of Love,

We have some very exciting and joyous news to share with you!!!

Firstly, thank you, thank you all for your dedicated and ongoing support of Team Harris – your prayers, thoughts, strength, encouragement and support have been truly uplifting and inspirational.  You are a circle of love for all of us.  


Since Erica’s discharge from VGH in-patient care on August 1st, we have spent most of our time exclusively on the homefront enjoying beautiful moments with the boys….with many backyard splash adventures, games of hide and go seek, puzzles, reading, sing alongs etc.. and the simple pleasures Erica loves most of all – being the first smile the boys see each morning and the last to kiss their cheeks as she tucks them in each night.  When the boys sleep/nap, Erica has dedicated herself to creating amazing mementos for our boys – making beautiful scrapbooks, photos, writing letters, making CDs , videos and other many other special memories. 


We have also been busy seeking as many wellness options as possible – from our amazing circle of love that surrounds us, we have been introduced to the world of meditation, visualization and healing hands practitioners.  We have become connected with top naturopaths and pharmacists and are following their advice and supplements diligently.  We have been blessed with multiple prayer groups/circles and have even been gifted a beautiful wooden hand held cross of Saint Mary MacKillop (who was credited with curing someone’s leukemia) brought to us from Australia. So many of you have done such extensive research on our behalf for treatments and forwarded us pivotal tips that we have pursued…we apologize if we have not responded to you, but all of the insights and suggestions have been put to great use and we feel so fortunate to have accessed so many healing paths because of your assistance. 


The boys have been incredible.   Hudson puts his hands on Erica’s cheeks each night to help heal her and has created a little lego “machine” to help pull the bad weeds (as we have explained the cancer to him) from her body… he massages her back every day and these healing hands are truly miraculous.   He said to Erica the other night all on his own “Mama, you have to believe!”   Hugh loves to rest with mama – giving her the longest snuggles, humming together so beautifully.

Thanks to all of you, the fire within Team Harris to find a cure for Erica and Erica’s unfailing strength, courage, determination, love and faith, she has done much better than the original prognosis given to us on July 31st.  Indeed, our doctors at VGH were so pleased with Erica’s weekly blood test results and recovering “counts”, they ordered a bone marrow biopsy to find out what was happening in Erica’s bone marrow.  The biopsy was yesterday.  We received the results this afternoon.


Erica’s July 30th biopsy indicated that there were approximately 25%-30% leukemic (bad) cells in her marrow.


To be considered in remission, VGH advised us that patients need to have 5% or less leukemic cells in their marrow. 


At VGH they will only do a stem cell/bone marrow transplant if a patient is in remission.


Today we learned that the biopsy from yesterday shows that Erica now has less than 3% leukemic cell in her marrow. 


This means she is in FULL REMISSION!! 


This is the best possible outcome from the biopsy that we all prayed and hoped for.


Our doctor had no explanation for this amazing result and said that they had not seen anything like it before.  He asked if Erica had received any treatments in August that we had not informed them of…


A miracle.  That is the explanation.  A true, blessed and God-given miracle.


In conjunction with our dedicated BMT Coordinator, One Match and all of your support, a 10/10 unrelated stem cell/bone marrow match was found for Erica at the end of July.  This donor is now in the process of being “activated”.   Another donor’s blood is also being tested as a “back up” and we are hopeful that this donor will also be a match for Erica, if necessary. 


They are trying to fast track the donor process as much as possible and our doctor is hopeful Erica may be able to start the stem cell/bone marrow transplant process at VGH in October.   The transplant process usually takes approximately 3 months in hospital.


We have been truly blessed.   You are all witness to a spectacular and glorious miracle. 


Thank you to each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts.


Faith, Hope and Love Always,

Team Harris

Nov. 9, 2012

Status Update
By Harley Harris
Erica Harris – Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant UpdateHello to our Circle of Love,

It has been quite a turbulent ride over the last few weeks. Apologies for not being in touch sooner….

As many of you know, Erica was admitted to VGH Leukemia/BMT ward exactly 3 weeks ago today (October 19th) to start her stem cell/bone marrow transplant – in typical determined Erica fashion, she insisted that we climb the 15  flights of stairs on the way to being admitted…always great to start with a bang… she was blessed with an amazing room, with a panoramic view of downtown Vancouver, False Creek, the North Shore Mountains and all the beauty our city has to offer, and, of course, she was blessed with an incredible and dedicated team at VGH by her side.

The transplant process starts with three days of chemotherapy (using one of the aggressive salvage chemo drugs), three days of TBI (total body radiation – 2 sessions each day) and then the transplant. We were told going in by Erica’s attending doctor that the entire process after the transplant takes many weeks in hospital, with the fastest discharge being 4 weeks after the transplant – but sometimes it can be 3 months or longer in hospital.

Erica persevered well through the chemo, however, she found the twice daily TBI very difficult.

Erica had her transplant 2 weeks ago yesterday (on October 25th) soon after her last TBI treatment. The team at VGH calls it your new birthday. The transplant itself (using the donor’s stem cells) was relatively short in duration (under an hour). All progressed well until the very end when she developed a severe acute allergic reaction…close call.

Through it all, Erica was truly amazing and tenacious – she fought hard every step of the way, keeping as active as possible, using her stepper and crazy heavy medicine ball whenever she could muster up just enough strength. She did laps around the 15th floor tossing her med ball in the air. She endured the usual nausea, retching and lack of appetite with mucositis and ulcers covering her inner mouth and throat yet she was determined to stay off of the IV feeding that caused many problems to her liver in the summer. This meant she needed to eat and keep what she ate down. We were told that transplant patients rarely avoid the IV feeding due to all of the mutiple side effects of the process (including the post transplant immunosuppressant drugs) that cause the very painful mucositis. Yes, you guessed it, Erica was able to keep down enough nutrients on her own to keep the IV feeding away. My incredible wife.

Thanks to the super donor’s super marrow, Erica’s blood counts (white blood cells/hemoglobins/platelets etc.) recovered quickly – as has Erica. Indeed, her condition improved so quickly, we are pleased to share with you that she was officially discharged from VGH this morning (November 9th) on Day +15 post transplant. We were told by VGH team members that this is the fastest discharge they had seen following an unrelated stem cell/bone marrow transplant.

All that said, Erica is still very weak, very tired and her immune system is still incredibly vulnerable. In turn, we will be spending a few weeks at a place we secured near VGH as she gets stronger and more stable. She has a busy day care regimen ahead at the VGH outpatient clinic and she is certainly not out of the woods. A long road lies ahead with many potentials bumps as her new marrow takes hold. The entire engraftment process lasts many months – including daily immunosuppressant and multiple other medications. Her lead doctor indicated that it may take up to 9 months before engraftment is fully confirmed.

We are taking today’s fabulous news and discharge from hospital as a blessed gift from above.

As you know, Erica is happiest in the great outdoors as fresh air means so much to her… she soaked it all in as we left VGH. She had not been outside since she was admited. Today we walked a few blocks, we may try to walk a a few more tomorrow. One day at a time. Together, hand in hand.

Our plan is to surprise the boys tomorrow with a short surprise visit – at Hudson’s soccer game. Erica can’t wait to surprise them and hold them tightly in her arms.

Thank you all for your kind and generous support of Erica and our entire family during this challenging journey. We have cherished your thoughts, prayers and strength and everything that you have done for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you,

May God bless each of you and all of your loved ones.

Faith, Hope and Love Always.


LV trainer publishes first novel

Nicole Palacios is best known in Lynn Valley for her personal training business. But that may change now that she’s also the author of her novel, Bel Air Bodies, available for sale as an Amazon ebook. We tracked Nicole down to ask her about her writing, her background, and her life here in Lynn Valley.

Tell us about your writing background…. has it been hobby, career, or both?
My writing career has been something that I didn’t realize I wanted to do until about seven years ago. I started writing fitness-related articles for magazines, then realized my passion for fiction. I always enjoyed writing fiction in my youth, but put it aside to focus on schooling and child rearing. Now it’s back in my radar.

Now tell us about your fitness biz! (And, while you’re at, it, the rest of your life, too!)
I am a North Shore personal trainer; I’ve been involved in the fitness industry since I was 17! I started as a fitness instructor, then got my personal training certification and received my degree in Exercise Science. I train people in their homes/ outside or in my gym facility. I mainly work with females looking to get into shape/lose weight/etc.  Since I was six I’ve lived on the North Shore (with a three-year break living in Minnesota of all places!) I have three beautiful girls, and an awesome husband. We are totally in love with Lynn Valley where we live!

What made you decide on the romance genre when you turned to fiction writing?
I wouldn’t classify this as romance per se, more of a “chick lit” novel. There is some element of romance, of course, but that is not the only theme. What fun is it to read a book without a little romance? It keeps things fun and light.

What other kinds of writing do you do?
I write health and fitness articles for magazines such as Alive, Pregnancy (when it was still being published!), Fitness Business Canada, Personal Fitness Professional, the North Shore News, and a few others. I also maintain a fitness blog at:

How did you find the self-publishing process? Why did 
you go with Amazon?
It’s very difficult to get published with a mainstream publisher; you really need an agent first. They are hard to please! Amazon made it simple and was very easy to use.

What were some of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of self-publishing?
I would say all “pro”! It is very easy to do with a computer.

Did you have any help, or is this a solo project from start to finish?
This was my own personal project. I wanted to finish a book; there are a few others that I have started and left hanging for a few years.

What’s your goal for the book?
I would love to see it sell one hundred copies; that’s a goal. As well, it would be nice to just to have some people who I don’t know and didn’t tell about it to read it and hopefully enjoy it!

What are some of your other writing goals?
I am currently working on a non-fiction book on fitness for baby boomers. I hope to publish that the traditional way and have it “in stores”.

How will you be promoting Bel Air Bodies?
Twitter, Facebook, other blogs, word of mouth.

Any advice for aspiring novelists?
Stick with it! Don’t give up and don’t let negative comments get you down.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I am happy to be living on the North Shore and have such a great group of other writers and friends to bounce ideas off of! This community is so warm and welcoming and I really feel blessed to live here!

Lynn Valley mom itching to share eczema tips

When a pediatric nurse told Shula Klinger that her incessantly wailing baby boy was “going through a rough patch,” she didn’t realize how prophetic those words would prove to be.

Months of crying jags, rashes, breathing difficulties and ER trips later, Joel was finally diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (eczema). Finally, she and her husband could start to understand what would and wouldn’t help their child, and would gain him – and themselves – some uninterrupted sleep. A bubble bath at bedtime? Forget it – even a few minutes in the tub would cause a horrible itchy reaction. But organic home cleaners, and plain, non-appliqued baby clothes? Those would help.

Now the Lynn Valley mom is sharing all her trial-and-error tips with the rest of the world in a new blog. Says Shula: “A ROUGH PATCH chronicles the day-to-day struggles of an infant with eczema, asthma and allergies. The site is packed with personal anecdotes, tips and tricks for families in a similar predicament.  But it’s not just about the daily rigours (or agonies) of life with these health problems; you’ll also find light-hearted entries, product reviews, interviews, guest essays and recipes.”

Shula will be pulling in international guest bloggers, medical experts, and parents of fellow sufferers in the posts to come, and the blog itself is being profiled in an upcoming newsletter of The Eczema Society of Canada.

Shula is a well-published writer already; after coming to Canada to pursue a PhD in Education at UBC and later developing online curriculum for the BC school system, she turned her focus to her creative life. Her young adult novel, “The Kingdom of Strange,” was published in 2008 and she has also illustrated “Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook.” She continues to work in print and radio journalism, most often for the CBC.

Shula, her husband Graham, son Benjamin (age five),  Joel (now 20 months) and their “eccentric dachshund, Moby” moved to Lynn Valley last October, where she says they all feel very much at home, despite ongoing home renovations. Shula says her neighbours are wonderfully relaxed and welcoming (Ed. note: They no doubt appreciate Shula, as well – she is apparently a prolific baker!) Other favourite pastimes include visiting the library and taking Benjamin and Joel to the local parks.

Check out A Rough Patch to learn more about this family’s experience with eczema; to learn more about Shula’s writing life, visit her website. Shula invites people with questions and comments to post them on A Rough Patch – she’s happy to be a sounding board!

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, editor. Photo by Laura Lui of / Laura Hana Photographer:

Knee Knacker just latest challenge for elite LV runner

Some of the world’s top ultra-marathoners will be participating in this Saturday’s infamous Knee Knacker, a 30-mile run from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove along the Baden Powell trail, and Hilary Ewart is excited to be amongst them.

It’s the second Knee Knacker for this Lynn Valley mom, and though she doesn’t consider herself a natural runner – “I’m not built for it, “ she claims – she says there is a mutual feeling of equality and respect at the starting line, regardless of ability.

“I’ve never been made to feel that I shouldn’t be there,” she said this week as she reflected on some of the races she’s tackled. “Though I sometimes question myself.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone questioning Hilary’s credentials when you look at her running CV. While she says she wasn’t particularly sporty as a youth (“Honestly, if I can do this, anyone can”), once she started running, there was no holding her back.

She started as a recreational jogger, then decided to join her husband Ian as he trained for a half-marathon. That was semi-successful – she liked to chat the whole way, which drove him nuts – but it was the start of a pursuit that would end up changing her life and how she lives it.

Her determination (or, in her own words, her “obsession”) kept pushing her to longer and more far-flung running adventures, encouraged on by the friendships she developed with other women keen to travel to races.

One of her favourite memories is accomplishing her very first marathon in her native Scotland, with her parents there to cheer her on. She still gets goosebumps recounting the pride with which her father congratulated her after her triumphant finish.

She’s raced in Big Sur, in Paris, and in Wales. Along the way, she became bored with road running and decided to try her hand – or her feet – at trail running. “I can still remember my first run with the Knee Knacker training group,” she recalls now. “It was humbling… it was really challenging.”

But this is clearly a woman who likes a challenge. In August 2010, she decided the 15 months ahead would include the Dirty Duo race in Lynn Canyon, the Diez Vista in Burnaby, her first Knee Knacker, and, to top it all off, a three-day, 85-mile run in Wales. While she was admittedly burnt out by the end of that time, she says the Welsh race was one of her best.

“I don’t know why, but I just felt wonderful,” she says. “At times along the way, I was feeling euphoric.”

People are always searching for that “runner’s high,” she says, although it tends to be elusive. It’s more common to encounter the lows when you’re running a tough course.

“You know the gremlins are there,” notes Hilary. “Sometimes they don’t appear; sometimes they spend the whole day with you. But you eventually learn that the bad feelings go away.”

Hilary’s health routine includes twice-weekly yoga, pre-race massages at Canopy Health, and keeping well fuelled during a run. She finds that her ‘away’ races can be easier, in that she’s divorced from her daily responsibilities and can be “a bit selfish,” focussing just on her challenge ahead.

She has spent this week getting over her jet lag from a trip to South America with husband Ian, catching up on her human resources job at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., and dealing with a few butterflies as she contemplates Saturday’s Knee Knacker – one of the toughest trail runs in North America.

She’s done it before, but not in the heat that is forecast for Saturday. Between Horseshoe Bay and Deep Cove, she’ll face 16,000 feet of vertical climb and descent, and hopes to complete the course in somewhere between seven to nine hours. “I’m a back of the packer,” she chuckles, saying she is built for endurance, not for speed.

Anyone who tackles this run is an elite athlete in our book, regardless of their final time, and at LynnValleyLife we wish all 200 runners good health and good spirits. We’ll be reporting back with Hilary’s experience, and tell you all about her next adventure – a six-day stage race in the Himalayas this fall!

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, editor

Update: We checked in with Hilary on Sunday afternoon, and were delighted to hear she completed the race despite the heat and the record number of runners who dropped out along the way. Our congratulations to anyone brave enough to cross the starting line, and all those determined enough to reach the finish line!


Family needs your help to bring mom back to health

UPDATE! Come out to the Friday Night Concert in Lynn Valley Village on July 6 and register with Canadian Blood Services on the spot to see if you are a potential donor for Erica or another person in need. Read on to hear Erica’s story.

Now that the sun is shining, most parents and kids are thinking about beach days, play dates, and picnics in the park. Unfortunately, one Lynn Valley family’s summer dreams have been cut short in a manner as tragic as it was unexpected.

Erica Harris is a wife, a mom to two young sons, and a chiropractor who has spent time working at Canopy Health in Lynn Valley Village. She has owned her own clinic and built her career helping professional and amateur athletes reach their peak. But on June 6 she received word that her own health is facing a severe challenge. On that day she learned she has acute myelogenous leukemia, and was immediately admitted to hospital.

Two days later she started a week-long course of chemotherapy intended to wipe out the cancerous cells in her bone marrow. It was not successful. In fact, the percentage of leukemic cells in her blood was even higher than before.

Doctors now know that Erica is in a high-risk category that requires an even harsher round of chemo to wipe out all the cells in her marrow, good and bad alike (she is just finishing up these treatments in the next day or two). This sets the stage for a bone marrow transplant to follow, which will provide her with ‘seed’ cells to regrow the marrow she needs to produce healthy blood cells.

But there’s a problem. So far a suitable match has not been found for Erica, and her need is urgent and time-limited. That’s why her friends, family and colleagues are doing all they can to spread the word to encourage people to do the simple steps necessary to see if they are a potential match.

This involves a simple cheek swab (you can do it all by mail, or to save precious time, in person at a Canadian Blood Services centre). If a match is found, the vast majority of donations are made via a minimally invasive procedure involving blood collection; occasionally a more involved collection of marrow from the iliac crest is done under local or general anesthetic.

Of course, there are more people than Erica in need of these life-saving treatments, and her family hopes that others will benefit from the kindness of donors who may not be a direct match for Erica.

“Also, if you, and/or anyone you know, are able to donate blood or platelets – this is also very important,” says Erica’s husband Harley Harris. “Erica had a number of transfusions … in her first round of chemo, and we anticipate there will be many more transfusions during this next chemo treatment.   You never realize how important donating blood and platelets really is until you are receiving them.”

Harley’s great wish is to have Erica home again and tucking in their two boys at night. The two- and five-year-old lads are her biggest cheering squad, urging her ‘good’ cells on with chants of “Go, fighters, go!!”

But Erica’s ‘good’ cells need a helping hand, and that’s what neighbours are for. So please learn more about the donation process and how you can get involved. And please spread the word on your own Facebook pages and amongst your email lists.

We’ll be sure to update you with any other opportunities to give this Lynn Valley family a hand.  In the meantime, please continue to keep Erica, Harley and their boys in your thoughts.

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, Editor

Bob Rasmus takes pride in the Lions

FROM THE EDITOR: If you’ve attended a Lynn Valley community event any time in the past two decades, chances are you’ve crossed paths with a Lion – a certain Lynn Valley Lion, that is.

Bob Rasmus is known to many as the former owner of RJR Contruction Management, a company he and his wife Peggy ran for many years before his retirement in 2010. But he’s probably met even more people through his role in the Lynn Valley Lions, the community service club he joined in 1990.

It all started when he built a house for a client over in Vancouver. When Bob presented his bill, the client told him “I’ll pay it as long as you join the Lions Club.” Bob took up the challenge, and – having moved to Lynn Valley in 1976 – joined the club in our neighbourhood.

Payment of invoices aside, Bob says “One of the reasons I joined is because I was making my living from the community, and I wanted to give back to the community. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

Many people may feel that way, but we suspect Bob may have given back more than most. Currently the secretary of the 31-member club, and zone chairman for the larger community of local Lions Clubs, Bob has been president of the Lynn Valley Lions three times, most recently last year. As of writing, he is working 10-hour days organizing the 100th Lynn Valley Days celebration on May 25/26 – but that didn’t stop him or his fellow Lions from setting up their infamous Cook Shack for Lynn Valley Village’s Easter weekend festivities. (For more about the Lynn Valley Lions and their role in the community, click here!)

Bob’s history of volunteering pre-dates his Lynn Valley Lions days; father of two, he was a baseball coach and Scoutmaster, and a participant in the YMCA’s “Indian Princess” program for fathers and daughters.

It was a circuitous path that brought Bob to our neighbourhood; born in Portage La Prairie, he left there for Mission when he was two, then moved to Vancouver in 1966 and to Lynn Valley a decade later, where he lives on Alderlynn Road.

Since arriving, Bob and his fellow club members have done a great deal to improve our community. We can only imagine he’d love to issue the same challenge to our male readers as he received all those years ago – “Join the Lions Club!” Even without the motivation of an outstanding invoice (!), we hope you consider taking him up on it.

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen

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