Castlegar – Make a date with Timmy

Upcoming fundraiser has far-reaching influence, including all through the West Kootenays

Castlegar's Joanne Baker is the Chair for BC Lions Society Zone E8

There’s an old saying that goes: ‘Charity begins at home,’ and while it could be convincingly stated that the world is our home, some folks look to the more local venues to support with their donation dollars.

This sort of caring donor may not be aware of the large difference Timmy’s Christmas Telethon has made in the lives of West Kootenay families.

The 26th version of the telethon is coming up on December 8 and donations are as simple to make as a phone call.

Joanne Baker is an energetic member of the local Selkirk Lions Club, affiliated with the BC Lions Society Easter Seal Services – stagers of the telethon along with Shaw Communications. Black Press, incidentally, is also a proud sponsor.

Baker paid a visit to the Castlegar News last week with some very interesting stats on the number of kids in the region who have been helped out by the Easter Seals programs for Children with Disabilities.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of bed-nights spent by kids from this part of the province at the Society’s Vancouver facility in 2012:

Castlegar – 306; Robson – 54; Crescent Valley – 9; Fruitvale – 222; Genelle – 6; Grand Forks – 30; Montrose – 24; Nelson 283; Trail – 273; Rossland – 54; Slocan – 191; South Slocan – 44; Slocan Park 36… and Winlaw – 10.

If that doesn’t put a local spin on a provincial effort… what can? How about another heartwarming fact, as supplied by Joanne Baker? Last year more than 900 children were sent to summer camp with Easter Seals financing a large portion of the fees (the total cost is $2,400 per child for a week. Three West Kootenay children got to go.

Castlegar’s Deb McIntosh has a personal connection with the program and described its value on November 18.

“Easter Seal house is a fabulous place, my daughter used it two years ago when she had an unexpected birth of my grandson,” she related. “They were down in Vancouver for more than two months. It was absolutely crucial that she had an affordable, safe place to care for her son. Without Easter Seals House I don’t know what we could have done.”

McIntosh highlighted another component of the program that goes well beyond dollars and cents.

“There’s other people staying there,” she said, “you go in strangers but you come out family. It’s a really tight-knit group and the volunteers there are fabulous. We were able to leave my daughter there, knowing she was in really good, capable, safe hands. It was a God-send to us.”

Mark your calendar for Timmy’s Christmas Telethon – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, December 8 on Shaw TV.