Community Papers

Photographer gives back to YANA

GABRIEL CALLICUM'S PHOTO was taken as part of a documentation of his cancer journey.
— image credit: Photo by Karen McKinnon

At the age of 2½ Gabriel Callicum was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Feb. 7, 2010.

He and mom Genie Lindsay lived in a You Are Not Alone (YANA) apartment for eight months. They still return to the apartments every three months for Gabe’s continued chemotherapy.

Doctors and medical staff have been amazed at the ability of this little guy to bring a smile to the faces of others. He’s now a pretty normal five-year-old attending kindergarten. His cure date is May 16, 2013.

“YANA has been an incredible blessing to our family and we are so grateful to have such an organization in the Comox Valley,” says his mother.

YANA wants the community to know about an offer from McKinnon Photography. Karen will be in the Driftwood Mall by their Christmas Tree Auction area this Thursday through Saturday. 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.

“We will learn about your family, and we will chat (and likely laugh) as we talk about options for personalizing your session," says McKinnon. "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-five-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 or check her Facebook page.

YANA 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.

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 or follow them on Facebook.

— You Are Not Alone

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