UBCO nurses think globally
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 07, 2019 - Get Involved

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UBCO School of Nursing’s 11th annual Global Gala is set for next Friday night in downtown Kelowna.

The event is a fundraising initiative for the university’s global health practicum program. Each year nursing students have an opportunity to travel to Ghana and Zambia to provide health care. The global health practicum is part of the students’ final clinical practice experience and provides an opportunity to practice nursing in a setting outside of Canada.

This year’s Global Gala is being held at The Laurel Packinghouse. The doors open at 6 p.m., and the dinner is scheduled to start at 7 o’clock.

There will be live entertainment and a Casino Royale theme during the event, which raises funds for health initiatives, support outreach clinics and the purchase of medical equipment in Ghana and Zambia.

Mamas raises big bucks
Rob Gibson - Nov 06, 2019 - Get Involved

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Mamas for Mamas broke new ground as its fifth annual gala on Saturday raised $300,000 for the charity.

The gala at Kelowna’s Okanagan Golf Club was a throwback to the Great Gatsby era, complete with champagne, cigars and a show-stopping burlesque performance. The goal was to raise $250,000 at the event.

“Poverty isn’t their issue, poverty is our issue, it is everyone’s issue,” Mamas founder and CEO Shannon Christensen told the sold-out crowd. “Poverty affects us economically, socially, personally and politically. The truth is we just can’t afford to ignore the impact poverty has on our neighbours and on our community as a whole. One in five children live in absolute poverty right here in Kelowna. We can do better.”

Funds raised from the gala will support the Mamas At-Risk program, which has already served more than 6,000 families in 2019, up from 3,998 in 2018. This rapidly growing program supports mothers, fathers and families in crisis who are facing homelessness, hunger and poverty-related issues.

“Grateful doesn’t quite reflect how I feel toward our attendees from Saturday,” Christensen said. “I am in awe of each and every one of them. In awe of the new friends we have made and the long-term supporters who never fail to show their support. It was completely surreal watching a room full of powerful and compassionate people working together to help us make long term changes to poverty based systems.

“These donors and guests are changing the future of thousands of families who would otherwise fall through the cracks. We didn’t just fund our biggest and most expensive program this last weekend. We funded a positive future for thousands.”

Big White’s gonna be hot
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 06, 2019 - Get Involved

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A Big White business is looking to spice things up this winter and give back to charity at the same time.

Underground Pizza has a massive new hot sauce collection that it will feature prominently during the upcoming ski and snowboard season. The restaurant now has 60 varieties of hot sauce that people will be able to enjoy on their pizza or donairs.

“We’ve got everything from super mellow to blow-your-head-off hot,” owner Alan Reid said in a press release. “People seem to really enjoy watching their friends suffer, so we can facilitate that for them.”

Underground Pizza will also be offering a “Wheel of Hot Sauce,” where customers can donate a minimum of $2 for the right to sample four of the hot sauces. All proceeds will go directly to Kelowna Food Banks at the end of the winter.

“This way your pain will not be in vain,” Reid said.

The restaurant has also installed a bar that will allow it to display 250 licence plates from all over the world and from as early as 1939. Kids will also be able to make their own pizzas this winter and will get a huge chef hat they’ll be able to decorate and keep as a souvenir.

Donor has plenty of heart
Nicholas Johansen - Oct 30, 2019 - Get Involved

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A surprise donation has completed Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s $7 million campaign to bring a full-service heart centre to the Okanagan.

The campaign, to bring advanced heart rhythm services/electrophysiology to KGH, was completed in less than a year, after it was kicked off last February. The final donation came this week from Alberta businessman Marshall Eliuk, who donated the remaining $1.4 million.

“I have experienced much success throughout my life. I wholeheartedly believe in giving back to support the communities we live in,” Eliuk said in a press release. “And I’m a grateful patient myself. It gives me great joy to know that this gift will ensure heart rhythm patients can access the life-saving care they need, right here at KGH.”

The Marshall Eliuk Cardiac Interventional and Advanced Heart Rhythm Program will be fully operational by the fall of 2020, meaning the hundreds of patients in the Interior every year requiring advanced heart rhythm services will no longer have to travel to Vancouver or Victoria for treatment.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Eliuk for stepping forward to help bring EP to KGH, a cause that this community has clearly demonstrated is very important to them,” KGH Foundation CEO Doug Rankmore said in a press release. “This is a remarkable gift and closes a campaign that so many have literally held very close to their hearts.”

Winery helps Parkinson fight
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 30, 2019 - Get Involved

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Parkinson Society British Columbia received a significant boost earlier this month when Lake Country’s Ex Nihilo Vineyards Okanagan Valley held a silent and live auction.

The winery held its Fall Harvest Dinner on Oct. 11, and the auctions that were part of the event raised $5,761 for Parkinson Society BC. The charity is near and dear to Ex Nihilo Vineyard’s partners Jeff Harder and Janet Azhadi, as both their fathers were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Harder’s father, who is now in his mid-70s, was diagnosed when he was 28 years old.

“My father was a private pilot, and my memories of weekend flying with dad were some of my fondest,” Harder said in a press release. “Today he struggles just putting on a seat-belt. It’s difficult to watch as eating, speaking and walking are very challenging for him.

“We are going to continue to be a part of the Parkinson Society as we want to help and understand the disease. I do believe that science and doctors are close to finding the cause and cure.”

Lunch money for genomics
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 30, 2019 - Get Involved

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The ninth annual Discovery Luncheon, which benefits the BC Cancer Foundation, will be held on Tuesday in Kelowna.

This year’s lunch will raise money to support groundbreaking genomics research at BC Cancer. Genomics is when experts deploy whole genome analysis to inform individual treatment planning for patients.

Shannon Gall will be the patient speaker at the event, and she will share how genomics had a major impact on her life after her cancer diagnosis.

“I went from taking over 40 pills a day to now only taking one,” Gall said in a press release. “I am living proof that genomics makes a difference.”

The luncheon will take place on Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort.

Some of the notable attendees will include BC Cancer Foundation president and Sarah Roth, BC Cancer regional medical director Dr. Ross Halperin and BC Cancer medical oncologist Dr. Sara Taylor.

Searching for Kelowna’s stars
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 29, 2019 - Get Involved

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Fountain Tire is teaming up with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets to find citizens who go above and beyond.

The Fountain Tire 3 Stars is a collaboration with the WHL and OHL that recognizes “stars” in 21 Canadian cities who make their communities a better place. They are asking Kelownians to nominate their stars until Nov. 30.

“We’re adding to the roster of everyday citizens who support and inspire those around them,” Fountain Tire brand and customer experience director Denise Gohl-Eacrett said in a press release. “We’re asking Canadians to help us find people whose actions—big or small—make a difference in their communities.”

The three primary attributes Fountain Tire is looking for are volunteerism, humanitarianism and generosity. Last year some of the “stars” included teachers, firefighters, fundraisers, hockey parents and even a city bus driver.

Three winners will be selected from each participating WHL and OHL city on the basis of nominees giving back to their community in a meaningful way.

Kelowna winners will receive a WHL 3 Star Experience, including four hockey tickets, a $250 Fountain Tire gift certificate and a $200 gift certificate for the Kelowna Rockets team store.

They will also be recognized during an in-game ceremony later in the season.

Memory endures with market
Chelsea Powrie - Oct 28, 2019 - Get Involved

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Laurel Burnham ran artisan markets in Penticton for many years, and when she became sick last year and decided to step down from the Penticton Okanagan Makers Christmas Market, her friend Frances Callaghan was happy to take over.

“She put me in the direction right away of what to do,” Callaghan said. “The show is now going to continue, but under a new name, because Okanagan Makers belonged to Laurel.”

Burnham passed away this summer after losing her third battle with cancer. Callaghan said she reworked the market and named it the Artisan’s Showcase market.

“We just wanted to keep everything going,” Callaghan explained. “We wanted to leave a legacy for her, our way of saying ‘We’ll miss you this year.'”

The event will run Nov. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre with 165 unique vendors, including returning vendors and newcomers.

In memory of Burnham, they will have a Tree of Hope with hand made angels from one of the vendors.

“People can pick them up by donation, and we’ll give the money to the Hospice House,” Callaghan said.

She remembers Burnham as a powerhouse, someone who was kind to everyone and found joy in every aspect of life.

“She was full of life, and that’s what she’s given me, have fun with what I’m doing,” Callaghan said. “Being an artisan, there’s so much talent out there in local people that we don’t realize.”

For more information on the market, click here.

Tech shoots for a million
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 24, 2019 - Get Involved

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The Okanagan tech community has already raised 10 per cent of a million-dollar goal, and the campaign hasn’t even started yet.

Accelerate Okanagan and Trellis have launched a fundraising campaign called OKGNtech for Good, with the intention of raising $1 million. It officially kicks off on Friday during Startup Drinks at Kelowna’s Innovation Centre, but more than $100,000 has already been raised.

“The OKGNtech industry has received a lot of support from the Okanagan,” Trellis founder and CEO Justin Goodhew said in a press release. “OKGNtech for Good is our chance to show that we have matured as a local industry and that we have the capacity to give back.”

The money will be donated to projects like Kelowna’s Child Advocacy Centre, which is slated to open in early 2020 and will help children who are suffering from abuse or neglect.

“The OKGNtech community is the fastest growing tech region in the country,” Accelerate Okanagan CEO Brea Lake said. “We are not only home to a lively startup ecosystem but a healthy group of established companies who want to give back.

“OKGNtech for Good is a chance for us to thank the entire Okanagan region for supporting us through this growth and an opportunity to give back in a really tangible way.”

Homegrown food gets boost
Miriam Halpenny - Oct 18, 2019 - Get Involved

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Chefs in the Classroom is growing, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Mission Hill Estate Winery.

The non-profit program launched in 2016 by the Okanagan Chefs Association provides edible education to Grade 3 school children in the valley.

The curriculum provides hands-on, Okanagan and Aboriginal inspired practices that show children how to grow, cook and eat local.

The classes consist of six 90-minute lessons that are taught each spring in which Okanagan chefs visit classrooms in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland and Naramata.

“Chefs in the Classroom is entirely volunteer-run and sponsor funded, and that is something that we are tremendously proud of,” spokesperson Debbie MacMillan said.

MacMillan expects 2020 will be its biggest year yet.

The program consists of volunteers ranging from chefs to cooks, farmers, gardeners, nutritionists, and educators visiting classrooms with support from organizations including Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kiwanis Club of Kelowna – Summit, Harmony Honda, Start Fresh Kitchen, Bylands Garden Centre, the Okanagan Table Cookbook, Farm Credit Canada and more.

Darryl Brooker, president of Mission Hill, has supported the growth of the program since the launch and provided 50 children with an outdoor lesson in 2016, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited.

“Mission Hill chefs have actively participated as part of the volunteer teams, teaching children in the classroom,” Brooker said. “We were pleased to host a field trip last year for 75 Grade 3 children.”

The students were provided with a tour of the vineyard and culinary garden, where they learned how grapes are grown.

To volunteer for the 2020 program, find more information, here.

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