Saanich police take a dip for Special Olympics
Uniformed officers from the Saanich Police Department’s Community Engagement Division took a (quick) dip in the chilly waters of Cadboro Bay to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics B.C. last Wednesday.
Members of law enforcement agencies usually hold the annual event at Willows Beach in Oak Bay. This year, due to restrictions on gatherings, the event was scaled back to just eight officers.
The Community Engagement Division includes the School Liason Office, Bike Squad, Crime Prevention Office, Block Watch and volunteer programs, such as the Reserve Police.
The officers took the plunge in support of Special Olympics B.C., a year-round event that welcomes athletes — both children and adults — with intellectual disabilities, and features 18 summer and winter sports and health and fitness programs. Events take place in 55 communities across the province, attracting more than 5,200 participants.
• For more information, go to specialolympics.ca.
Lawyer with a personal message runs and walks to fight cancer
Victoria lawyer Michael Butterfield ran and walked 26 kilometres around the University of Victoria campus in the sun, rain, wind and hail last month to raise more than $2,600 to fight colorectal cancer. March is Colorectal Awareness month in Canada, but his fundraiser was personal, as it coincided with the first-year anniversary of his cancer surgery.
“I would like just one person to hear my message and avoid what I have endured,” said Butterfield, who was diagnosed in January 2020. “At 56, I never expected cancer. I ignored the symptoms. The diagnosis changed me forever. Surgery removed cancer but wrecked my body.”
Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer to affect both men and women in B.C. Every year, more than 3,200 British Columbians will be diagnosed with the disease, and on average, 26 people across Canada die of it each day. Risk factors include age and family history, but it’s almost always preventable with proper screening.
Following his diagnosis and treatment, Butterfield shared his story within the legal community, writing an article for the Canadian Bar Association as well as producing a 30-second radio public service announcement advocating awareness and testing.
More information can be found here.
Mismatched-sock wearers put focus on Down Syndrome
Victorians are encouraged to wear mismatched socks to raise awareness about Down Syndrome on Down Syndrome Day, March 21.
The twenty-first day was selected to signify the uniqueness of the 21st chromosome.
Down syndrome is usually caused by an error in cell division called “nondisjunction.” Nondisjunction results in an embryo with three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two.
Down Syndrome Day is an opportunity to bring awareness and foster acceptance in the community.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has a number of downloadable resources and information videos available.
For more information, go to cdss.ca.
Craigdarroch Castle gets $288,000 to restore kitchen
The kitchen at Craigdarroch Castle will be restored to the way it was when the Dunsmuir family occupied the home, thanks to heritage infrastructure funding announced by Heritage B.C. and the provincial government last week.
The iconic castle has received $288,000 in funding to restore the food-preparation spaces. Both the kitchen and pantry areas were radically altered in 1919 when the castle — built between 1887 and 1890 — served as the Craigdarroch Military Hospital.
Walls, windows, moulding and floors were removed, along with mechanical elements such as the laundry chute and annunciator panel for the speaking tubes, which served as the home’s intercom.
“Bringing the kitchen back to the Dunsmuir era presents a powerful opportunity to broaden the visitor experience,” said John Hughes, executive director of Craigdarroch Castle.
“A kitchen is a place that attracts us all and has a universal language. In our surveys, 86 per cent of visitors to Craigdarroch Castle expressed a desire to experience the kitchen, and to learn more about the servants’ activities and food preparation in the Dunsmuir era.”
Plans for the renovation have been years in the making. The castle’s gift shop, which had been occupying the kitchen space, was relocated to the Visitor Centre in 2017.
The work to the kitchen will include the restoration and replacement of shutters, new wainscoting and mouldings around windows and doors, repair and painting of plaster surfaces and the installation of flooring.
The Victorian Scottish baronial mansion has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
For more information, go to thecastle.ca.
At care homes, spin-a-thon raises money for heart health
Residents and staff at several retirement and assisted-living facilities held a COVID-safe spin-a-thon to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Residents at Berwick retirement communities took part, including a 101-year-old at Berwick on the Lake in Nanaimo and a 100-year-old at Berwick Royal Oak.
Along with staff, participants took part in a day of pedalling exercise bikes on Feb. 23, raising more than $7,100 for Heart Health Month.
“There was so much positivity and energy throughout the building to support a great cause, and knowing our sister sites were all supporting the same initiative at the same time in our varying communities across B.C. really drove the excitement and willingness to participate,” said Melissa Braun of Berwick House. “Even though we couldn’t all come together in person, we were able to come together in spirit and virtually to support each other. It was such a great day.”
Berwick operates a number of retirement communities on Vancouver Island and in Kamloops. For more information, go to berwickretirement.com.
Threshold Housing expands services amid opioid crisis
Threshold Housing Society has expanded its services to include a supportive, healing-focused recovery program for youths who are battling substance-use issues.
The society has partnered with Island Health to deliver the Threshold Supportive Recovery Program.
The program offers outreach services — particularly important during the opioid crisis, given that youth are a highly vulnerable group in terms of substance use — and will have eight supportive recovery beds and one family care home bed in Greater Victoria.
Access to the recovery beds will be based on needs and urgency. Clients can self-refer, or be referred by a health-care provider, a family member or a support person. Recovery services are also provided to youths waiting for a bed.
Threshold Housing Society serves at-risk youth ages 15-24 who are experiencing homelessness, aging out of care or fleeing violence in the home.
For more information, go to thresholdhousing.ca.