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

Remorse high for Vernon man sentenced for car surfing death

Driver of car that killed friend who was car surfing gets nine months in jail

Lumby featured on CBC show Still Standing

Filming concludes Friday with a comedy show at the White Valley Community Centre.

Vernon taekwon-do pair off to world championships

Student Brianna Li and coach David White of Sundance Taekwon-Do earn spots with national team

Vernon Kin Race Track appeal abandoned

Okanagan Equestrian Society drops appeal of ruling favouring City of Vernon, regional district

French Immersion feedback positive for Vernon School District

Ninety-one families lined up for 88 spots this week

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

Most Read