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Our Community: Firefighters' 24-hour relay, fundraiser for night van

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From left, Doug Trumble, Trent Frenkel, Kyle Beaumont, John Ballantyne and Brad Trenholm in front of the Oak Bay firehall with their running shoes. Victoria and Oak Bay firefighters are walking/running a 24-hr relay at Oak Bay High to raise funds for a new track. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

>>> Firefighters raise money for Oak Bay High track

Come out and cheer on firefighters from Victoria and Oak Bay as they walk/run a 24-hour relay to raise funds for the Jack Wallace Memorial Track, starting at noon June 25.

The goal is to raise enough money to cover the resurfacing of the multi-use track at Oak Bay High School. In the past year, $200,000 has been raised, leaving only $226,000 to go.

To cheer on the firefighters, the Oak Bay High Jazz combo — made up of Grade 10 to 12 students — will play swing, Latin and funk music between 3 and 4 p.m. Then, from 5 until 7 p.m., emerging Canadian pop-country artist Jaimey Hamilton, who cites influences including Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert, will perform.

Get ready to dance as The Bald Eagles take to the stage from 7 until 9 p.m., playing rock and country-rock tunes from the 1960s and 70s.

Food will be provided by The Rack Bistro, offering West Coast cuisine.

The event is free to attend. The firefighters will walk/run in shifts, starting at noon June 25 until noon the next day at Oak Bay High School, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd.

>>> Counselling for those fleeing war in Ukraine

Cobble Hill resident Jackie Barker has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to provide needed counselling for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Proceeds from the campaign will go to the Vancouver Island Counselling Center for Immigrants and Refugees, a registered non-profit that provides mental health counselling to immigrants and refugees.

Refugees and their families get individualized counselling, which includes referral to other specialists as needed. They work with specially trained interpreters as required.

Services are offered on a sliding fee scale, based on the client’s ability to pay.

The fundraiser is at gofund.me/58f4a7d5. For more information, go to viccir.org.

>>> Stewardship of the Millstream watershed

Peninsula Streams and Shorelines is hosting an information session for individuals interested in stewardship opportunities in the Millstream watershed, June 27.

The group was invited by Goldstream Hatchery and the City of Langford to become directly involved in stream restoration and stewardship within the Millstream Watershed in 2015. Through planning, fundraising, hard work and dedication, the group completed the construction of a fishway at Atkins Avenue Culvert in 2020.

In the newest project, the group is launching a Millstream stewardship group, made up of engaged and interested neighbours and friends. Stewards will help guide and support the long-term care of the creek through education, hands-on stewardship initiatives, and restoration activities.

The information session runs 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 27 at the outdoor covered area at Millstream Elementary School, 626 Hoylake Ave. (look for the PSS sandwich board signs). Please bring your own lawn chair. For more information, go to peninsulastreams.ca.

>>> Replacing Peers Victoria’s night outreach van

Peers Victoria is launching a fundraiser to replace its night outreach van, which brings support, food, harm-reduction, clothing and other supplies directly to clients. It is Victoria’s only seven-night-a-week mobile service, operating from 6:30 -10:30 p.m. nightly.

After six years of service, the current vehicle is starting to fall apart and unreliable in bad weather, when people need it most.

The fundraising goal is $125,000, with $65,000 for the van and $60,000 to retrofit it for use. Peers, which

supports current and former sex workers, has allocated $25,000 of its funding to the initiative.

The outreach team serves an average of 18 people nightly, with 25 per cent of service provided to unhoused people, 38 per cent of whom are Indigenous.

“The van means life, food, clothes, supplies. Warmth, hygiene, and safety,” said Ronan, one of those helped by the team.

Established by and for sex workers in 1995, Peers Victoria provides support, night outreach, drop-in services, harm-reduction supplies, education and employment programs, meals and more.

To donate, go to fundrazr.com/peersnightoutreachvandrive, or mail a cheque directly to 1-744 Fairview Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 5T9. For more information about the Peers Night Outreach Van Drive and Peers Victoria, contact Gillie Easdon at fundraising@peers.bc.ca.

>>> Webinars for those affected by dementia

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has launched a series of online webinars that will help those affected by dementia and their families better understand the disease.

A recent session touched on active aging, which helps maintain overall health and quality of life. People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes — all risks associated with dementia.

It found that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, nourishing the cells with nutrients and oxygen. Regular exercise also helps reduce stress and improve your mood.

The next session touches on long-distance caregiving, with practical tips on providing meaningful caregiving support from a distance. That episode starts at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 22.

It will be followed by commonly asked questions about dementia (starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 29), where you can join in a panel discussion of some of the most commonly asked questions.

For more information, or to register, go to alzbc.org/webinars.

>>> Need for blood donors

Canadian Blood Services is looking to replenish a critically low national blood inventory with a drive to attract 100,000 new donors this year

It says the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the smallest donor base in a decade, noting the number of people across Canada who donate regularly has decreased by 31,000 donors since the start of the pandemic, which has put a strain on the existing donor community.

“Right now, we have compounded losses in donors due to COVID-19 and not having the ability to recruit new donors at in-person community events because of restrictions over the past two years,” said Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

“Patient lives depend on new donors coming forward. Donors are vital links in Canada’s Lifeline who improve the lives of patients every day.”

The group is urging people across Canada to book an appointment to donate blood, plasma and platelets, pointing out that while one in two people are able to donate blood, only one in 81 actually do.

The organization is also aiming to build a more diverse donor base to meet complex and underserved patient needs. Rare blood patients, for example, often rely on donors with hard-to-match backgrounds.

CBS says it’s working to build relationships with racialized and Indigenous donor communities and remove barriers to donation.

Prinzen said the blood services agency often sees a dip in donor turnout when the weather improves and people go on vacation, but the need doesn’t go away. “Patients in Canada need people to book and keep their appointments throughout the summer to provide lifesaving products, especially as summertime activities, such as travel, can increase the need for blood.”

For more information, or to book an appointment, go to blood.ca.

parrais@timescolonist.com