Our Community: Variety telethon a godsend for Victoria family

As a result of its Show of Hearts Telethon next weekend, Variety — the Children’s Charity will likely have more than 1,200 new success stories to tell next year, thanks to generous donors.

The stories come from grateful families of children with special needs, who have benefited from more than $170 million the British Columbia chapter of the charity has distributed in 125 communities around the province since 1965.

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Victoria recipients include Tracey Trousdell’s twin sons, Asher and Nolan, both 5, who were born premature at 26 weeks and suffer from cerebral palsy. Asher has mobility challenges and needs a wheelchair, while Nolan can walk with the assistance of orthotics.

Last year, the charity helped pay for a $7,500 van conversion and elevator. “Variety has been a great help,” said Trousdell, 39.

“We’re just a middle-class family and just couldn’t afford it ourselves. Although the medical is paid for, most people don’t realize there are lots of things for which we have to pay for.”

The aids have made a difference for her and her husband, Jordan. “When you look at [Asher] in the van he’s so happy to be physically included with the family,” she said.

“Life for me is so much easier. While we didn’t have the van we didn’t let that stop us from being as mobile as possible, but the van has made things so much better. We now get out more often.”

The 49th annual telethon airs Feb. 14 and 15 on Global B.C. The show starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and winds up at 5 p.m. Sunday. The show features stories of children helped, entertainment showcasing the music industry’s biggest stars and opportunities for viewers to engage with the show — including winning a new car.

For information, go to variety.bc.ca.

Telus funding offer deadline nears

The first deadline to apply for $350,000 in funding by Telus for programs or projects in Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island is fast approaching.

Every year, the telecommunications company awards millions of dollars to hundreds of registered charities across Canada. The Victoria Community Board is one of 11 local board that determine where the funds go.

Criteria for projects include:

• Focus on youth

• Demonstrate social and/or technological innovation

• Falls under: Arts and culture, education and sport or health and well-being in our environment

The maximum benefit is $20,000, with charities able to apply once a year in each city.

Deadlines for applications are Feb. 23, May 25 and Sept. 24.

Meetings to determine the successful applicants will take place about a month after each deadline.

The Vancouver Island Community Action team, which helps registered charities north of Victoria, has two deadlines: March 6 and Sept. 11.

The Action team will give out about $30,000 in donations and sponsorships in 2015. The application process is the same as above.

For funding guidelines, go to about.telus.com/community/en/ how_to_get_funded/guidelines.

Phillips brews special beer for four-legged friends 

For the past four years, Phillips Beer, a local craft brewery, have always found the time to create a special batch of beer — their annual Benefit Brew.

Proceeds from these fun new brews are donated to a charity chosen by their clientele.

This year, beer lovers need to be fast to get their paws on the latest Benefit Brew, a Dunkleweizen, which will benefit the Victoria Humane Society and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew. The organizations will each receive about $10,000 from the sale of the special batch of dark wheat beer.

The Victoria Humane Society rescues, rehabilitates and finds homes for neglected and surrendered animals.

The beer is available at private craft-focused liquor stores or at the brewery, 2010 Government St. For information, go to benefitbrew.com or victoriahumanesociety.com.

Cocker spaniels are on lookout for loving owners

Valentine’s Day may be the perfect time to find a soulmate — the cuddly four-legged kind.

Lisa Atterby, founder of Angels Under Our Wings Cocker Spaniel Rescue, currently has 11 cocker spaniels in her care looking for good homes.

They include, in her words: “A trio of black beauties, three golden goddesses and a red and white cocker.”

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without chocolate.

“I have two chocolate cockers,” she said in an email. “They are the best kind — sweet, yet calorie-free.”

Atterby regularly plays matchmaker between loving, affectionate cocker spaniels and eligible adopters.

“Maybe with Valentine’s Day around the corner, people will open their hearts and homes to these very sweet, affectionate dogs,” she said.

“Cockers are the cuddliest dogs I’ve ever known.”

Information on the dogs can be found at the website angelsunderourwings.com.

Join Sea Rangers Club at Hillside on Monday

Children can discover the magic and wonder of the ocean by joining the new Sea Rangers Club at Hillside shopping centre on Monday, which is B.C. Family Day.

The club, for children five to 12, follows on the launch of the OceanWall last fall.

At the launch of the club, children will learn about one of the biggest families of resident orca whales in the Pacific. Children will be introduced to the family, made up of three pods with 79 members in total, their life expectancy, ages and other fun whale facts. The event will include face painting, jellyfish and starfish crafts, a prize draw and giveaways.

The OceanWall is the first of its kind in Canada. It consists of a 3.6 metre-by-2.1 metre screen continuously showing hours of underwater footage of the waters surrounding Vancouver Island.

The event is free. It runs 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the wall, located near the food court in the shopping centre at 1644 Hillside Ave. For information, go to hillsidecentre.com.

Elizabeth May to speak at Streams meeting

Green party Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, will speak at the Peninsula Streams Society’s annual meeting on Saturday.

The meeting runs 3 to 5 p.m. at the Brentwood Bay Lodge, 849 Verdier Ave. For more details and to RSVP, contact PeninsulaStreams@gmail.com.

Women Who Care help youth-support website

Youth suffering from depression, anxiety and isolation can receive an additional hour of online emotional support, thanks to a donation from 100 Women Who Care Victoria.

Youthspace.ca is an online website run by NEED2, a local organization dedicated to suicide prevention, education and support.

The site gives troubled youth an opportunity to chat or text message with a volunteer.

The added funding, which started at the beginning of the month, allows the organization to now provide service to youth under 30 until midnight.

“Volunteers are overjoyed at the idea of being online later to support youth in crisis,” said Maureen Elworthy, program manager. “We see a real need to be open during the late-night crisis time when other services are not accessible.”

The organization has 52 volunteers who responded to 3,200 chat requests last year. The service responds to youth via SMS (text message) and IM (instant message online) every evening from 6 p.m. to midnight. For information, go to youthspace.ca or 778-783-0177.

Businesses pitch in on Heart Month activities

February is Heart Month, and supporters of the Heart and Stroke Foundation are hosting a number of events to raise awareness and funds in support of a future free of heart disease and stroke.

• Country Grocer is working toward selling 10,000 red paper hearts from seven locations

• Heart Pharmacy is selling red paper hearts and offering two free seminars

• Pizzeria Prima Strada is donating partial proceeds from their Mangiamo promotion

• VI Fitness locations will donate $14 from every membership sold in February

• Victoria Marriott Hotel will donate 10 per cent of their proceeds from their Valentine’s Day dinner

• TD Canada Trust in Duncan and RBC locations in Victoria will sell red paper hearts and silver heart pins.

Heart disease and stroke are responsible for 27 per cent of all deaths in Canada. They continue to be two of the leading causes of mortality, with one in every seven deaths as a result of heart disease or stroke.

Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s largest campaign to raise donations and awareness. For information, go to heartandstroke.ca.

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