Ruth Callender with NOCLS (left), 10-year-old Anastacia Chirkoff, mother Catherine, father Victor, eight-year-old Zaria and Crystal Leese with NOCLS check out the future location of a lift Wednesday, June 6. The Chirkoffs received $7,045 from the North Okanagan Community Life Society’s second annual Fun Run fundraiser to go towards the $16,000 lift that will allow the girls to utilize the previously donated pool and increase their quality of life. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Vernon kids get a lift from NOCLS

Zaria and Anastacia Chirkoff soon able to utilize a home swim spa system following NOCLS fundraiser

For Zaria and Anastacia Chirkoff, recent fundraising efforts created an opportunity to increase their quality of life.

A look of disbelief flashed across father Victor and mother Catherine’s faces when Crystal Leese with the North Okanagan Community Life Society presented them with the cheque for $7,045, which was raised at the second annual NOCLS 24 Hour Fun Run May 25.

“People are very generous. We’re very grateful,” Victor said inside his Vernon home. “Sometimes, when people donate, they might not see results. I don’t even know how to put into words how grateful we are.”

Funds raised from the event will be put towards the $16,000 cost of a lift to allow the girls to access their swim spa, which was donated to the family in 2016 through a Children’s Wish Foundation Canada initiative.

Related: Support makes a splash with family

“When you see them in there and they’re having a good day, the laughter, it touches your heart,” Catherine said.

Anastacia, who is now 10-years-old, and Zaria, eight, were both born with a rare condition called pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2, which impacts the development of the brain.

Symptoms vary from case to case but may include microcephaly, a condition where the head is smaller than normal; developmental delays with little voluntary motor skills, intellectual disability and several severe movement disorders. Approximately half of those diagnosed suffer seizures.

Both girls spend 90 per cent of their day in their chairs. Their muscles ache and they are unable to speak, stand or sit without support. The other 10 per cent of their day is spent on a matted floor.

“When they’re in that pool, they’re weightless,” Catherine said. “They can just be kids.”

Prior to receiving the swim spa, the girls would visit the Vernon Recreation Centre pool twice per week. However, their condition amplifies sensitivity to loud noises and their bodies struggle to regulate temperature. In their swim spa at home, everything is under control.

In the swim spa, the girls don a neck ring flotation device and enjoy the warm, soothing water.

“It takes so much pressure off their body,” Catherine said. “It helps us give our girls quality of life.”

Unfortunately, Victor and Catherine said, kids grow. Before they could simply lift the girls into the pool manually, but they’re now in need of assistance to utilize the home facility.

With the lift, the girls will be able to resume frequent visits to the swim spa, which have been weaved into their homeschooling program.

“It’s nice when you can hear their laughter and see their smiles,” Catherine said.

And it wouldn’t have been possible without help from the community, the Chirkoffs said.

“When we did Make a Wish, I was mind-blown by the generosity of the community,” Victor said. “It allows the kids to be included in the community.”

Related: Running in support of Vernon family


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Armstrong arson suspect elects for trial by judge alone

Colette M Leneveu will appear in Vernon Law Courts July 4 for an application

Paving the way for pickleball in Vernon

Construction has begun for the pickleball courts but still needs donations.

Vernon society raises funds through living flag

The North Okanagan Community Life Society hosts Vernon’s first living flag July 1 at Graham Park

Coldstream’s zoning changes go to public

District hosting open house

Lumby to draft own animal control bylaw

Council supports proposed RDNO bylaw amendment regarding dog control

Humans locked in for love at Kelowna Shelter

BC SPCA Lock-In for Love hopes to raise $25,000

Fireworks and fires over a half-metre banned Friday in Kamloops centre

B.C. Wildfire Service banning to category 2 and 3 fires in Kamloops Fire Centre at noon Friday

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Large B.C. tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and District investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

Day with Dad

PHOTOS: O’Keefe Ranch celebrates Father’s Day

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Most Read