Crystal Leese and Ruth Callender, with NOCLS, stand next to Dawson Buburuz in the newly renovated bathroom the organization funded through its 2018 Living Flag fundraiser. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Families receive support from ‘Living Flag’ fundraisers

A young man and a boy who both live with limited mobility were supported by the Canada Day events

The past two Canada Days in Vernon were marked by generosity on the part of local residents and businesses.

Now, the fruits of that generosity have arrived.

The North Okanagan Community Life Society (NOCLS) unveiled a renovated bathroom for a Vernon man living with cerebral palsy.

NOCLS also presented a cheque to a Spallumcheen family to help pay for medical equipment for their son, who lives with limited mobility.

Dawson Buburuz, 20, was in need of a bathroom that he could access with his wheelchair.

Thanks to the NOCLS’s 2018 Canada Living Flag fundraiser, he now has the space to wheel into a walk-in shower.

“The family had applied for a home adaptations grant and they were denied,” said Crystal Leese, a resource co-ordinator with the NOCLS.

“So then we put together the Canada Day living flag fundraiser in 2018.”

Last Canada Day was the organization’s first fundraising attempt, raising $4,000.

“It really brought everybody together for a good cause,” said Leese.

“We look forward to doing it each year with a different family and seeing how we can help more people.”

Dawson and his family extended thanks to the NOCLS for that first fundraiser, and were touched by the many individuals who contributed to Dawson’s improved mobility over the past year.

On top of the $4,000 raised from individuals, local businesses also chipped in with funds, materials and services for the bathroom.

The list of donating businesses included Lit Electric Ltd., Emco, CK Design, Nu Floors, Reliance Plumbing, CL Mechanical and Mudweiser Drywall.

“We had donations of plumbing and faucets and tiles and counters. Electricians who gave their time without charge,” said Leese.

Related: Second annual ‘Living Flag’ a success in Vernon

Related: Vernon society raises funds through living flag

After stopping by at the Buburuz residence, Leese and her co-worker, Ruth Callender, went to Shane and Liam Thiessen’s Spallumcheen house to hand them a cheque from this year’s fundraiser.

Shane’s son Liam, eight, lives with a rare lifelong form of epilepsy that constrains his mobility. Liam was in need of a standing frame to help him stand on his own two legs.

“It was not funded by the government even though it’s been recommended as something that’s imperative for Liam to be able to change positions and stand on his feet, and just really for his development,” said Callender.

The Thiessens were presented with a cheque for $2,500 to help pay for the standing frame, which costs about $3,000.

“I can’t say enough about NOCLS,” Shane said. It’s an emotional journey for the father, who has had to fight for respite money from the government in the past.

“The NOCLS helped us wade through that,” he said. “I think I’ve cried in their office, I’ve been angry … and they’re still calm, cool and collected.”

The organization also helped arrange funding from the Ministry of Child and Family Development for Liam’s support workers, who need to be present with him around the clock. That care work was previously taken up by family members.

For Shane, it would be impossible to imagine any other life, or any other son, than his own.

“I wouldn’t trade it for a minute. I love it, and I love him. But we can’t physically do it on our own.”

With the new equipment, Liam is now able to stand – and thanks to the community funding, his family is able to stay standing as well.

The first Living Flag fundraiser saw about 150 participants clad with red T-shirts join hands in the shape of a maple leaf at Grahame Park. As many as 200 made it out for the fundraiser this Canada Day.

The North Okanagan Community Life Society wish to give special thanks to Vernon Flying Club and the Vernon Lions Club for supporting this fundraiser in both years.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon player to battle for North Stars

Kevin-Thomas Walters leaves North Okanagan Knights for Junior A team in Saskatchewan

Youth gives Vernon park a COVID clean

Girourd Park was a mess before Andrew Frederick moved to the area

Okanagan Landing museum opens doors

Float back in time to 1914 when sternwheelers transported goods up and down the valley

Morning Start: Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin

Your morning start for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Road closed for Lumby grads to paint Cop Hill

‘It’s going to be awesome,’ Lumby mayor says

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

COLUMN: Efforts preserve and promote local agriculture

Farming will remain an important element in the region

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Most Read