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Across the pool swim

There’s a new swimming event in the Okanagan to help swimmers and triathletes train for their distances in the pool. On April 29, the Across the Lake Swim Society is presenting the “Across the Pool Swim” at H2O Adventure + Fitness in Kelowna.

“This event will help anyone who wants to train for swimming events such as the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim (ATLS) Kelowna and the Cherry Blossom Triathlon,” said Mark Fromberg, Event Director. “This is a unique spring training opportunity as well as a way for swimmers to give back to the community, so we expect to sell out.”

“This is more than just a swim event. It’s one more step towards our mission of drown proofing the Okanagan”, said Peter Rudd, President of the Across the Lake Swim Society. “All proceeds of the Across the Pool Swim go to the YMCA Okanagan Swims Program where we send over 3,000 kids for free swim lessons each year. For the last decade, the annual Across the Lake Swim events have been raising funds to provide swim lessons to every Grade 3 and Grade 4 child in School District #23 and this is one more drop in the fundraising bucket to make that happen.”

“It’s also going to be a blast,” said Fromberg. “Swimmers complete a ‘snake-style swim’ through the lanes at 10-second intervals, with our volunteers marking times on bodies and caps. It’s an opportunity for swimmers to train for their events in a friendly atmosphere, have fun, and raise funds to help kids learn to swim safely.”


Walk for Alzheimer's

On Sunday, May 6, Kelowna’s City Park will come alive with the sound of music, warm- up stretches, a stroll, a chance to win a prize and enjoy a snack or two, all part of the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s.

The event is Canada’s biggest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It’s a fun and family-friendly way for Kelowna and area residents to create a movement while sending a message of inclusion and hope to Canadians – including an estimated 70,000 British Columbians currently living with dementia and the people who care for them.

In B.C., Walks will take place in over 20 locations. Each community chooses an honouree – a person who
has been affected by dementia or who has invaluably contributed to the lives of people living with the disease. The Walk in Kelowna honours Allan and Bettina Collier, who as caregiver and spouse are living with the daily challenges of this disease and count on the support and services available from the Alzheimer Society of B.C. The Colliers are also keenly aware of the need for the funds raised by the Walk for much-needed research.

The Walk Registration, for teams and individuals alike, opens at 1:00 pm while Vic UK- The Fiddler and his Keys entertains. The folks from Phoenix Fitness will lead a few warm-up stretches and gentle exercises at 1:45 to get participants prepared for the walk. The walk will depart at 2:00 pm with Global Okanagan’s own Rick Webber leading the walk. He’ll be joined by Big White’s famous mascot, The Loose Moose. After the stroll, grab a bite to eat, sit and relax in the stands and listen to the pure gold entertainment of The Southern
Belles, aka Anna Jacyszyn and Kinga Heming along with musicians Sean Bray and Loni Moger.

To register, visit walkforalzheimers.ca or call Mary Marandino at 250-212- 0937.

Spring shoe drive

Shoe Bank Canada’s annual Spring shoe drive is in full effect! The organization will be collecting and sorting shoes to distribute them to deserving individuals in the Okanagan and beyond throughout the month of April.

“Last year’s spring shoe drive was record breaking with over 20,000 pairs of shoes donated,” says Jim Belshaw, the founder of the non-profit. “Unfortunately we still had requests we weren’t able to fulfill so, we’re hoping to break that record this year.”

Businesses of all sizes, churches, and schools are among the bin hosts who have joined forces with Shoe Bank Canada. Many are permanent drop-off locations that host collection bins throughout the year, allowing continuous distribution of shoes to thousands of individuals and families across the country.

One in five children don’t have access to adequate footwear, and approximately 200,000 Canadians live in poverty. “There are Canadians who are having to choose between feeding their family, clothing their family and paying bills,” said Sue Ross, Marketing and Operations Coordinator with Shoe Bank Canada. “Almost anyone with a closet has shoes they don’t feel good in. If everyone passes on those shoes, it means one less thing for people living in poverty to worry about.”

About Shoe Bank Canada
Shoe Bank Canada collects shoes from individuals and footwear companies and distributes them to people in need in Canada. The organization now has permanent drop-off locations in cities across BC and Ontario, and the community is also encouraged to donate during annual spring and fall shoe drives.


Radio hosts volunteer

Two well-known radio hosts are sharing the stories of their recent health crises as the catalyst into their paths to becoming weekly volunteers for the KGH Foundation in emotional videos just released. 
Monday, April 16th marks the kick-off to National Volunteer Week in Canada.  Every day across the country, volunteers give their time to support non-profits, charities, service organizations and communities in need.  It is an act of true philanthropy – giving to promote the welfare of others with no expectation of anything return.  But anyone who volunteers regularly will tell you, the act of service comes with many unexpected, invaluable rewards.  
Just ask celebrated, local morning show hosts Phil Johnson of AM1150 and EZ Rock’s, Tamara Joel (TJ).
WATCH Phil’s Story
Their stories began when they both suffered serious health crisis’s that landed them in Kelowna General Hospital. Both were gravely ill and stayed in hospital for several days. Becoming patients themselves allowed them to experience first-hand and the extraordinary care being provided by KGH medical staff, students and support teams. 
Once recovered, both felt deeply grateful and eventually, separate from one another despite being close colleagues, made their way to becoming volunteers for the KGH Foundation.
The KGH Foundation is a volunteer-driven, charitable organization whose aim is to advance the standard of health care being delivered to patients at KGH and its associated facilities.  Every week, the organization relies on hundreds of volunteers to staff four non-profit venues; the Perking Lot (hospital coffee shop), Royal Bistro (hospital café), Centennial Mercantile (hospital gift shop) and the Rutland Thrift Store. 
Phil spends Tuesday mornings as a barista at the Perking Lot, preparing lattes for doctors, nurses, patients and guests at KGH. TJ spends Tuesday afternoons at the Royal Bistro, interacting with and serving KGH staff and visitors hot breakfast or lunch.  
For every four hour shift, a volunteer contributes approximately $84 to the KGH Foundation.
Over the years, these contributions have added up to millions of dollars in funds.  In 2017, KGH volunteers joined with hospital volunteer groups from Peachland, Lake Country and Winfield to purchase a new $1.9 million CT scanner for the Emergency Department at KGH.  They also gave a sizable gift to Foundry Kelowna, the new integrated care clinic to support youth struggling with their mental health.
Both Phil and TJ admit that giving in the form of volunteering began initially as a way to give to the hospital in a meaningful way.
Yet what they gained for themselves is priceless.

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