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

Excellent Canada Day parade photos? Not here.

If you’ve come here looking for excellent photos of the Canada Day Parade, you’ve come to the wrong spot.

If that’s what you’re after, you’re advised to keep an eye out for the fine work of my former colleagues at the North Shore News. I, on the other hand, love parades but spend too much time misty-eyed and waving flags to be able to produce much in the way of a visual record.

Between the stirring salutes exchanged between the marching legionnaires and the uniformed members of the reviewing stand, the skirl of the pipes, the dashing Mounties in red serge, the old folks in their red-and-white bedecked electric scooters and the young ‘uns standing tall to sing O Canada, there is much to touch the sentimental heart. A parade celebrates all that is good in a community: the volunteers and creative souls; the rescue heroes and the service men and women; the non-profit organizations that help people around the block and around the world.

So I had much to occupy my hands this morning, given the need to alternate eye-dabbing with candy-catching, and frankly you are darned lucky to get any photos at all out of me.

But I did realize it was my duty to pull myself together long enough to snap a few shots of some of our neighbourhood entries, so here they are, along with my very best LynnValleyLife wishes for a happy Canada Day.

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, Editor

Gillian Konst and Eric Miura from the LV Community Association float

LV Legion was on hand with their band

NVD Mayor Richard Walton was handing out candy when he wasn't pedalling his bike and trailer along the parade route.



Think nationally, act neighbourly

There’s no better place to celebrate your country than in your own community. Just like each  journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, building a great nation starts right on our own front porches.

So get together with your friends and family members young and old, and paint the town red (and white) this July 1. The fun starts with a Lions Club breakfast at 8 a.m. at Grand Boulevard Park, and you won’t want to miss the parade that starts from there at 10 – it’s the biggest Canada Day parade in the province!

Lynn Valley Community Association members are invited to dress in red and hop aboard the LVCA float. Meet up at 9:15 at the flagpole in the Grand Boulevard Park, and be part of the festivities.

After that, there is lots of fun to be had down at Waterfront Park, but you can stay local by celebrating from noon to 4 at Lynn Valley Village. The event will include entertainment, market booths, kids events and games, and even a contest for Best Canadian Attire!

Of course, there’s no better way to end the day than with a block party. For some food and fun ideas to get you started, check out this link here.

Happy Canada Day, neighbours! We’re lucky to live in such a wonderful pocket of paradise.

Prize-winning temperance essay from 1928 still relevant today

FROM LYNN O’MALLEY: It has become abundantly apparent that you can’t count on June for good weather. But the end of the month does bring one thing you can depend on: grad ceremonies, photo opps and – unfortunately – the worry that some kids will take things too far and ‘celebrate’ with an open bottle in hand.

So this month’s launch of Canada’s Temperance Foundation (CTF) is timely. Started by a Victoria man and V-P’d by his addiction-experienced friend, it advocates “abstinence or retraint” in the use of alcohol and drugs. It invites Canadians to take a pledge in support of the cause.

“In ancient Greece,” reads the CTF website, “temperance was considered a virtue and was obtained when one became enlightened through harmonious living.”

Fair enough – who can argue with harmonious living? But in the interests of fair play, I do want to point out that the fine awareness-raising work of the CTF is building on the earlier labours of Nora Newman, Anna Flodin, James Simmonds and other Lynn Valley schoolchildren who competed in the annual essay competitions sponsored by the local Women’s Temperance Union in the early 1900s.

In 1928, young James won a $5 gold coin for the following second-place essay. (Each year the winner received the David Spencer Cup, which was often displayed at Lynn Valley School.)

We bring you this excerpt of James’s 84-year-old essay, along with our heartfelt wishes for a safe and happy grad week throughout the valley. We can’t speak to the veracity of his scientific claims, but we do hope today’s kids pay attention when he says that by drinking, you are “lowering the grade of your mind… (and) dulling your higher sense.”


Alcohol has great effects on health and length of life. If a man drinks he is sick more, and dies sooner than a sober man.

Alcohol causes fatty degeneration and fibroid degeneration of certain of the tissues. In fatty degeneration, little drops of fat or oil gather in the cells which gradually become small bags of oil.

When the muscles of the heart change to fat, they lose their strength. The kidneys and nerve fibres are also affected in this way.

Fibroid degeneration affects the heart, liver, kidneys, arteries and brain. The arteries are affected by the lime that is deposited on the walls. This makes them very brittle and narrow, so the blood can hardly make its way through.

Alcohol affects the brain. It causes paralysis and insanity. A man who takes three ounces of alcohol each day for twelve days could add figures only three-fifths as fast as when he takes no alcohol. This effect lasts for at least forty-eight hours.

A drunkard is not the only person who suffers from the result of his habit. Drink is responsible for a large number of crimes. The worst feature of the poverty caused by alcohol is not the fact that the drunkard himself suffers, but the fact that the innocent person suffers far more than he does. Many companies and railways will not employ anyone who drinks. During the Great War most of the principal nations of the world forbade the manufacture of alcoholic drinks.

Six main things you do if you take alcohol are: that you are threatening the physical structure of your stomach, your liver, your kidneys, your heart, your blood vessels, your nerves and your brain; that you are unquestionably lessening your power to work in any field, be it physical, intellectual or artistic; that you are in some measure lowering the grade of your mind, dulling your higher sense and taking the edge off your morals; that you are distinctly lessening your chances of maintaining your health and living to a good old age; that you are adding yourself to the number of those whose habits cause more suffering and misery, disease and death, than do all other causes combined; that you are fastening on yourself a habit that will lead many business men to refuse to employ you.

Alcohol is a poison, a deceiver and a wrecker of man and homes.”





Circling helicopters part of Lynn Valley life

FROM THE EDITOR: The sound of sirens isn’t too unusual in Lynn Valley, especially during the summer months when it’s often assumed emergency responders are en route to a mishap in Lynn Canyon.

While those occurrences can sometimes be tragic, we’re lucky to live in an area where emergency vehicles are generally responding to accidents or medical incidents rather than high crime and skulduggery. But the noise of a helicopter circling overhead late at night recently prompted one LynnValleyLife reader to ask “If we hear a chopper at night, does that mean a serial killer is loose in the woods?”

Cpl. Richard De Jong

An excellent question, we thought. So we took it to Cpl. Richard De Jong, the North Van RCMP media relations officer who is always happy to help answer our queries. In short, the answer is ‘no’ – it could be up there for any number of reasons.

There are two helicopters in the Lower Mainland that are jointly owned by the RCMP and other police agencies, ICBC, and the provincial government. Available 24 hours a day, they are dubbed Air 1 and Air 2 (names reminiscent of those in a high-action movie, or, alternately, The Cat in the Hat).

The choppers are deployed in a wide variety of situations, from high-speed traffic chases, to locating lost individuals, to providing support in potentially dangerous situations – such as the recent capture of an individual being sought for a double homicide in Burnaby. Cpl. De Jong says that along with the pilot, there is always a police officer on board in case the helicopter has to set down to make or assist in an arrest.

“To the officer on the street who is in a foot chase or a vehicle chase, having a ‘partner’ up in the sky that can move quickly and have a bird’s eye view of the developing situation… can be life-saving,” said Cpl. De Jong. “Often, just having the police helicopter show up at a volatile scene or chase has a defusing effect.”

That said, in our area it is often visibility more than volatility that is the issue. Lynn Valley, he notes, is in a mountainous area, and often the reason a helicopter is brought in is to help locate individuals lost in our back country.

At night, Air 1 and Air 2 are invaluable because they are equipped with special lights that can detect movement and heat in complete darkness (sorry, parents, they are not available to help you track errant teens who may have missed curfew, or nab that bear that keeps feasting on your fruit trees!)

For more information, and a narrated audio-visual clip of Air 1 on patrol, visit here. And rest assured, when you hear those distinctive chopper noises in the sky, the chances that it’s due to an axe-wielding bogey man are slim!

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen is the editor of LynnValleyLife.





Many a tune to hear in June

Whatever your budget or artistic preference, you’ll hear music in the air this June.

For parents, of course, there are the omnipresent end-of-term school concerts and piano recitals. But that’s not all that’s on the symphonic smorgasbord this month.

Next week kicks off with the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band’s tribute to music of stage and screen on Monday, June 11.  Come out to the Lynn Valley United Church venue to listen to some tunes from your favourite flicks and support your very own community band. Admission is by donation, and the fun kicks off at 7:30.

You’ll be treated to a free evening recital at Lynn Valley Library on Wednesday, June 13, when the Chamber West Woodwind Quintet – including oboe-playing Lynn Valley native Lisa Jensen! – comes to perform works by Ravel and others. Start time is 7 p.m; visit here for more details.

Wrap up your week up at the Lynn Valley Legion, which is featuring blues singer Taylor James and her band on Saturday the 16th.

Taylor has played all over Europe and the U.S, and she’s opened for performers such as Jeff Healy, Colin James and Chilliwack. She recently travelled with other musicians to sing for the Canadian Forces based in Greece, Sarajevo, Egypt and the Persian Gulf.

Tickets are $15 and available at the Legion to adults over 19. Doors open at 7, music starts at 8!

100th Lynn Valley Day a sunny success!

“This was, by far and away, the absolutely best Lynn Valley Day ever.”

So said an elder of the valley, who has been attending these annual affairs since the 1960s.  And to judge by the comments we heard on Saturday and in the days that followed, she wasn’t alone in her views.

A full-capacity, 500-seat Gala Dinner Dance on Friday night morphed into a family-friendly, full-day festival on Saturday, thanks to generous sponsors and the tireless work of dedicated volunteers, who laboured into the night and were up in the early morning to transform the grounds in preparation for the crowd to come.

Students from the Argyle Digital Media Academy were on board to document the centennial event (they also produced the colourful promo posters that you’ve seen around the valley!). They mounted a time-lapse camera from the home of LynnValleyLife sponsor Jim Lanctot, and were able to capture the entirety of the celebrations in the following 60-second clip, from the tent going up on Thursday afternoon to its dismantling on Saturday. Whether you were at the event or not, you won’t want to miss this minute-long whirlwind tour! (And check out our Lynn Valley Day photo album on our Facebook page, too!)

The Friday night Gala participants enjoyed a great meal from Tommy’s Catering, live dance music, and the opportunity to pull out their party clothes and – instead of going to a stuffy office function! – hang out with friends and neighbours, with complimentary limousine service at the end of the evening to ensure revellers got home safely.

Hats off to all the Lynn Valley Day movers and shakers who managed to attend not just the Gala, but arrive on time to set up the park and the pancake breakfast early the next morning. (One intrepid LV Lion started his park duty at 5 a.m.!)

For a peek into the Gala night, have a look at this next super video put together by the Argyle students. (Check out some of those dance moves!)

Despite last-minute scrambling when breakfast organizers discovered they had no water supply because the District had just re-keyed the locks in the rec centre, the pancakes got mixed, poured and flipped for the early risers.

As always, the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band was out early to serenade the pre-parade crowd, kicking off a day that was jam-packed with festivities. From balloon artists, to magicians, to musicians of all stripes, event co-organizer Bob Rasmus of the Lynn Valley Lions says that the day offers attendees over $12,000 of free entertainment.

And according to parade organizer Terry Nichols, the 57-entry parade was the largest he’s ever marshalled, with groups calling at the last-minute to be allowed in. “I have never had such a big parade,” he said at the organizers’ debriefing meeting held last night. “I let it get up to 57 because I was in a good mood.”

The good mood continued with the awarding of cash prizes to top parade entries. Best Entry goes to Ferguson Moving and Storage, Most Entertaining to Freddy Fudpucker and his band, and Best New Entry to The Living Lab. And Terry event added a new category, Best Walking Group, to recognize the Argyle Pipers football team. Led by a piper and featuring the cheerleading team, the school principal, and the school football team, Terry says they were “exceptional for a first-time group.” He also awarded thank-you plaques to five organizations that are long-time supporters of the parade and consistent with strong entries: RBC, Zazou Salon, 30th Seymour Scouts, Lynn Valley United Church, and Brockton School. Congratulations to all!

Just some of the other highlights from the day were the dog agility show, the car show on Institute Road, free games and races for all ages, a flash mob, and the colouring contest, which had over 80 entrants. And one of the most memorable moments included the power outage that saw the Bouncy Castle deflate (more than once!) – fortunately not harming any of the resident children in the process!

The North Van RCMP’s media relations officer, Cpl. Richard De Jong, says Sgt. Paul Duffy was the proud Red Serge-clad officer in the parade, and he applauds the work of the many Community Policing and Auxiliary Constable volunteers who were out in force at Lynn Valley Day, answering questions and introducing kids and adults alike to the RCMP Safety Bear. (Cpl. De Jong also encourages people to call the Lower Lonsdale Community Policing Office at 604-969-7464 if they are interested in joining their ranks!)

While final revenue numbers won’t be available for a little while, Bob Rasmus does say “It was a very good day.”

“We were well within budget on everything,” he said. “The only area we went over budget was in the revenue category.” A main beneficiary of the day’s success, he says, will be the North Shore Rescue Team, which is fundraising for new facilities in the North Van Works Yard.

Even though the event was a resounding success, the Lynn Valley Day planners are already hammering out what will be done to make things run even more smoothly next year. Once again, LynnValleyLife wants to thank the organizers for the thousands of hours they have collectively donated over the past number of months to make the weekend festivities a reality. Please have a look at our tribute to the event hosts, and think of ways in which you can support the work of the Lynn Valley Lions and the Lynn Valley Community Association.

And now, for one more Argyle video – a look at Lynn Valley Day 2012!


– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, editor



Friday Night Live crew celebrate a year of laughs

On Friday, June 1, the AddLibretto theatre sports troupe will once again throw some seemingly random questions out to the audience at Lynn Valley United Church.

“What do people ask advice about?” might be one of the questions, or “What’s something worth celebrating?” Within seconds, the off-the-cuff answers are used as the fodder for a scene or song that is guaranteed to bring laughs, and sometimes even some sage life-wisdom.

Friday Night Live, an evening of music and comedy (and musical comedy!), began one year ago on Friday. Over the past year, the informal evening of entertainment has continued to grow in popularity, and has seen over 20 guest artists take to the stage along with  AddLibretto. Over that time, audiences have heard pianist composers, singers, jazz combos and more.

This Friday will see the Senior Vocal Ensemble from Argyle Secondary step up with director Francis Roberts to perform some of their always-crowd-pleasing numbers. And, as always, audience members will also get to enjoy coffee donated by Waves and treats supplied by the parish.

“There are lots of people who like to come out and end their week on a really positive note,” says Kelly Jenner, church administrator. The church, she says, plans to continue hosting Friday Night Live next year, after the troupe take a summer break from their church-based performances.

For now, though, you’ll be able to catch them at the church every Friday night until the end of June; performances start at 7:30 and guest musicians are advertised on the church website in advance. A hat is passed following the performance; Kelly suggests considering what it costs to go to a movie when deciding what to donate. (And you won’t have those staggering popcorn costs to worry about!)

For more information, visit the church website or call 604-987-2114.



No need to leave the Valley this weekend!

Be sure to get all your chores before Friday this week, because you won’t want to miss a minute of the goings-on in Lynn Valley this weekend. We’re confident the weather will cooperate, so get your calendar out and make note of the following!

If you’re one of the lucky ones who scored a ticket to the Lynn Valley Day Gala Dinner, you already know what you’ll be doing Friday night – dining and dancing under the tent and putting in some bids on auction items to help support the North Shore Rescue team.

If you left your ticket buying too late, don’t despair – cap off your week by taking in the never-fail laughs provided by members of the professional theatre sports troupe AddLibretto, performing at 7:30 at the weekly Friday Night Live event at Lynn Valley United. Special guest this week is violinist Andrea Siradze of the North Shore Sinfonia orchestra.

Saturday starts bright and early with the Lynn Valley Day Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 (or earlier if you decide to lend a hand to the stalwart volunteers showing up at 6 a.m.!) Spend the rest of the day enjoying the 10 a.m. parade, exhibits, rides, performances, and games at the 100th Lynn Valley Day extravaganza; all details are here.

Rest up Saturday night (you’ll sleep even better if you help put away the tents and tables in Lynn Valley Park!) and then head to Lynn Headwaters Park on Sunday for their Wilderness at Your Doorstep event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join archeologists and experts on natural history and local trails in the BC Mills House, and take a walk fuelled by some coffee from the Tim Hortons Community Mobile.

That afternoon, enjoy the fruits of other people’s labours with a visit to the two Lynn Valley gardens taking part in the annual Art in the Garden event.

From noon to 5 p.m., pay just $1 to tour gardens that showcase not just their owners’ green thumbs, but the work of local artists and musicians.

The Lynn Valley gardens are located at 1731 Torquay Ave. and 1531 Kilmer Pl. See the North Vancouver Community Arts Council website for details on musicians’ set times and other North Shore gardens participating in the tour.

After a weekend like that, you might just be glad to head into the office Monday for a rest! Enjoy it – and our thanks to all event organizers for putting on a weekend to remember!

P.S. If we’re wrong and the weather DOESN’T improve, don’t fret – just head on over to the Library Book Sale, on from Friday to Sunday!


Meet our Mother’s Day contest winner!

In our recent Mother’s Day contest, we asked LynnValleyLife readers to tell us the most important lesson they learned from their mother.

We’re happy to introduce you to Eryn Arnott, who wrote the following:

“The best lesson I learned from my mom was how to love unconditionally.  Although my mom died when I was young, there was never a time I could not go to her for, or with, anything. She was always there with open arms, a hug, or word of wisdom.  She taught me what it means to be a mom.”

Thanks, Eryn, for reminding us how important it is to ‘be there’ for each other, whether as parents, kids, or friends. We hope you enjoy your gift from the Red Tulip Gift Shop in Lynn Valley Village.