Celeste and Coco

Celeste and Coco

Local bowlers rolling to help Variety

Until Jan. 31 bowlers at Lincoln Lanes in Vernon are lacing up their shoes and fundraising for Variety – The Children’s Charity.

Until Jan. 31 bowlers at Lincoln Lanes in Vernon are lacing up their shoes and fundraising for Variety – The Children’s Charity.

They join 45 bowling centres across the province who are participating in the 28th annual B.C. Bowls For Kids, a two-month long campaign in partnership with Bowl B.C. and Youth Bowling Canada.

Lincoln Lanes has participated in the annual fundraiser since the beginning and has raised more than $98,000 for Variety.

Marv Zwarych, 79, is Vernon’s most prolific fundraiser, rallying the community behind many causes. He’s been involved with B.C. Bowls For Kids for the last 10 years, and although he’s beginning to feel some physical limitations, his spirit is strong.

“I started bowling in 1959,” said Zwarych. “I met my wife Lori through bowling and we’ve bowled together for 50 years. As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that my co-ordination isn’t the same, so I’m only bowling on Tuesday nights now. But I haven’t stopped fundraising!”

Zwarych grew up with a sister who had down syndrome, so he has a special understanding of the challenges facing kids and families featured on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon. But his main reason for giving back: “I do it because I enjoy it,” he says.

The funds go to help families with children like Celeste, who with her sister Coco are this year’s B.C. Bowls For Kids poster girls. Celeste was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a life-threatening condition where the diaphragm does not close and the internal organs push into the chest cavity.

Emergency surgery corrected the problem but it was six months before Celeste was strong enough to go home with her parents and twin sister. Variety helped the family with funding for expensive medications, specialized formula and a feeding tube. Celeste, now three-years-old, still needs the feeding tube, but she is slowly learning to swallow normally.

“In the last five years, Variety provided grants to families and organizations in Vernon totalling more than $367,000,” said Bernice Scholten, executive director at Variety. “Partnerships with organizations like Bowl B.C. and Youth Bowling Canada helps to ensure that Variety will always be there for families in every community.”

B.C. Bowls for Kids is a provincewide campaign that has raised $3 million for Variety. The campaign is open to everyone and if you, your business, school or community group would like to put a team together and Bowl For Kids, contact Louise Duffy, events co-ordinator at louise.duffy@variety.bc.ca or 604-320-0505.