Penticton local starts grassroots fundraiser to help family after tragic loss

Tragedy strikes young family

“No parent should ever have to bury their child and now have to raise a grandchild.”

After the sudden loss of her sister-in-law, a Penticton resident has started gathering returnable bottles and donations to help the family prepare to care for the young child she left behind.

Rudi LaFontaine shared that her partner and his family suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of his sister Amanda Bylica on Friday.

Bylica was a recovering addict with over seven years sober and was living in Prince George. She had previously attended high school in Penticton and spent many years in the community.

“She was doing really good, got a great job helping addicts and homeless in Prince George with housing and whatnot,” LaFontaine said. “Unfortunately she met a man that got her back into things and she overdosed.”

This left Bylica’s parents in charge of her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Diamond.

“They're retired grandparents kind of just trying to make ends meet and make things work and hopefully, create a good life for this little girl,” LaFontaine added.

“It's been very, very tough and my boyfriend is actually in Prince George right now to be with the family and I'm at home here in Penticton holding down the fort.”

As the family works through the arrangements, LaFontaine started an account at the Penticton bottle depot to help bring in funds for raising Diamond.

“Anything we can do to provide this baby girl with anything she needs. We want to kind of keep her life as normal as possible and keep her in gymnastics and swimming lessons. I just figured this community also knew Amanda.”

Since posting on Facebook, LaFontaine said she has been flooded with messages.

“I know a lot of people are definitely sorry for the loss and couldn't imagine being in this position. So I'm just trying to spread the word and again, any little bit helps.”

Donations can be made to the bottle depot account by contacting LaFontaine through Facebook here for more information or e-transfer to the Bylica family directly at [email protected]

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