Coming together for cancer

Small town support goes a long way when dealing with illness

A community may be defined as a group of people living in a small unit within a larger one, having interests, work, friends and concerns common to all.

Qualicum Beach and Parksville and their smaller contiguous areas are considered communities, sometimes as one, and sometimes separately. Often the interests and concerns of these communities merge and overlap.

As I make lists and run errands to get ready for an upcoming example of community concern and caring, I read about another outpouring of thoughtfulness and generosity on the part of our combined communities.

Across this mixed bag of social and working units, people, businesses, and cultural entities are putting their efforts into supporting one of their own.

Our “morning guy” on The Lounge radio, Patrick Nicholson, is facing daunting health challenges, and the community has stepped up to help. I especially remember and appreciate Patrick’s expertise at the “turntable” when my own family sought him out to provide the background and dancing music for a special big-0 they sprung on me some years go.  He knew and chose the music of the appropriate era and was an important part of a warm evening’s success.

Now Patrick could use his community’s help and they are ready and willing to do their best with fundraising concerts and organized donations. Keep your eye on media announcements and be a part of the community that cares for someone whose warm hearted enthusiasm has been part of spicing up our mornings for years.

I can’t help but think of Patrick around this time, for exactly five years ago this widespread community had come together to bring encouragement and support to another man who contributed much to the knowledge, enjoyment, and humor found in the unsurpassed outdoor world around us. That is, until a severe stroke struck him down.

The local medical world gave little hope for any sort of recovery, but they didn’t really know him. In a coma, paralyzed on one side, a victim of pneumonia — none of these trials overcame the man we knew.

Slowly but steadily, he did recover; not fully able to participate in and enjoy the outdoors that was once his life, but the man that was, the man we knew, gradually came back and is part of our world again. So much of this recovery came about because his community rallied to his cause. They put together, worked at, attended, and donated, unstintingly.

A benefit evening, generous donations of basic foods, potluck side dishes, a donated site, an auction, an artist doing posters, a group playing background music, personal donations, and helpers, helpers, helpers — everything a true community is all about. Even the weatherman got involved and turned off the late afternoon showers and brought back the sun.

Next week on the five-year anniversary of this event that provided a year’s worth of therapy for a stricken friend and neighbor, many in this community will come together again to wish him a happy 80th birthday.

The weatherman too, is invited, so that we may sit by a friend’s wheelchair and enjoy for a time the twinkle in his eye and the undimmed sense of humor he shares with us. If you’re in the neighborhood, Patrick, drop a line and we’d love to have you join our celebration.

— Nancy Whelan’s column appears every second Thursday in The NEWS. E-mail:

Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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