Gabriel Callicum – photo by McKinnon PhotographyThis wonderful photo of Gabriel Callicum was taken by Karen McKinnon as part of a documentation of his cancer journey, which began on Feb 7, 2010. At the age of 2 ½ he was diagnosed with acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He and his Mom, Genie Lindsay lived in a YANA apartment for 8 months. They still return to the apartments every three months for Gabe’s continued chemotherapy. This infectious happy face is typical of Gabe, even through his treatment. Doctors and medical staff have been amazed at the ability of this little guy to bring a smile to the faces of others. As of now he’s a pretty normal 5 year old attending kindergarten. His cure date is May 16, 2013. Genie Lindsay, Gabriel’s Mom says “Yana has been an incredible blessing to our family and we are so grateful to have such an organization in the Comox Valley”

YANA would like the community to know about an amazing offer from McKinnon Photography. Karen will be in the Driftwood Mall by their Christmas Tree Auction area on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 6th, 7th and 8th. She is offering gift certificates for a full photography session for families, couples, or children. This is a regular value of $165 and an amazing experience. For these three days only, the gift certificates are being offered for $80 with $40 of each one being donated to YANA.

About the session, McKinnon said, “We will learn about your family, and we will chat (and likely laugh) as we talk about options for personalizing your session. Although I have a really fabulous studio, most of my sessions are outdoors and I have a plethora of ideas. The images from your session are going to have buckets of meaning to you now, and in the years to come.”

McKinnon talks about her passion for YANA. “I place a high value on giving back and contributing and YANA has a special place in my heart. Through my ongoing volunteer work with YANA I have come to know many of the families that have been helped, and thus changed by this amazing charity. A YANA apartment was also home for our family when my then 5 year-old stepdaughter battled Leukemia. Currently I have two clients, whose children are fighting hard for their health, using YANA’s services. So this year we are combining giving back to YANA with a meaningful gift for you to put under the tree.” For more information check out McKinnon Photography at or check out their Facebook page.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a local non-profit society founded in 1986 by Sandra Williams after her family experienced the financial and emotional devastation of having a very sick child who required treatment at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for many months.

YANA provides accommodation and funding to Comox Valley families who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or have a child under the age of 19 and need to travel outside our community for medical treatment. Can you imagine the costs involved in covering travel, accommodation, meals, childcare for other children, and other expenses related to running two households, especially for extended periods or on a frequent basis? These additional costs could easily bankrupt a family already dealing with the stress of a sick child. This is where YANA comes in, to relieve some of that stress and keep the family together. Totally funded by community donations, YANA’s support of families is only as good as the support of the community. Your donations stay right here to help Comox Valley families. For more about YANA go to their website or follow them on Facebook.