Looking back on 2015 brings up many feelings, particularly feelings of compassion for Oliver families who are faced with the stress of having a sick child and trying to determine how they are going to deal with the details of getting the care their child needs. I feel tremendous gratitude for the volunteers, donors, sponsors and supporters who show their kindness through giving time or donations to Highway to Healing Support Society (H2H). I also appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Highway to Healing Board of Directors. They are a well-connected group of individuals who are very familiar with the community that we serve.
This past year we have helped six more families get to their special medical appointments in Vancouver. H2H helped families access free accommodation and provided funds for costs associated with their travel to Children’s’ Hospital. We supported families whose children were faced with a variety of medical conditions – some straight forward for assessment or consultation and others for life threatening conditions.
We made a very beneficial connection recently with “Variety, the Children’s Charity”. It administers the B.C. Family Residence Program for the provincial government. This program provides funding for accommodation for up to 30 days per stay to families of children requiring travel away from home for medical care. For most of our families this is a huge savings. Needless to say, we advise Oliver families how they can access this program.
Community awareness is an important part of the work of the H2H Board of Directors. To that end, we have developed a number of initiatives including a website that the public can go to for information about our organization. On that website there is a simple application for families to complete if they are seeking help from Highway to Healing. Director Riley Martin, together with Laurena Rehbein of “Write this Down” web design, have been working to revise our original website. This work will result in easier access to our website to help families get funding and to provide a means to make online donations to H2H.
Other community awareness initiatives include our attendance at the following events:
- Mainly for Women Trade Show (WOW)
- Youth Cares regular meeting
- Lions Anniversary and Purina Dog Walk
- Rotary 70th Anniversary celebration
- Sunshine Festival Parade
- Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 97 Meat Draw
Advertising has been done on the following:
- CFSOS Community Knowledge Centre
- Parks and Recreation Spring and Fall Guides
- Various ads on Oliver Daily News and the Oliver Chronicle
Fund raising is another important part of what we do. On September 13, 2015 we were the host sponsor of the “Ride to Provide” biking event. It included a 30 km ride along the bike path and roads in our community and a 10 km ride from Lions Park along the bike path to the power line crossing and back to Lions Park where a barbecue lunch was served by the Lions/Lioness clubs. This event was co-sponsored by Double O Bikes. Other local businesses supported the event as well: Interior Savings Credit Union, Dr. Daniel Ng, PJR Contracting and TRU Building Centre. Gift prizes were provided by other Oliver businesses. We were very thankful for their support. The volunteer help was vital to the success that we had putting on this event. We cannot thank those volunteers enough for their help! We registered approximately 75 riders of all ages. We netted about $5000 for the days’ event including the registration fees, pledges, donations and sponsorships. We hope that this event will become an annual event for those people that took part this year. We have learned a lot in putting on the event and hope to make the next year’s “Ride to Provide” even more successful. An important change for next year is the date. Please put Sunday, June 12, 2016 on your calendar for the Ride to Provide.
The community support received by Highway to Healing is a good example of how much the Oliver Community cares about children and families. The families that have had to travel for medical treatment have indicated their appreciation of the community support. Our Board gets great satisfaction for their part in helping these families in their time of need.