As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man. — Proverbs
A community is a living organism — the whole of all those who reside within it. So it’s not a stretch to suggest, like each of us, it has a heart.
And that heart reflects the community.
Last week, the Osoyoos community’s heart swelled with compassion and caring and beat a generous lifeblood into one family’s extremely difficult situation.
The community raised upwards of $41,000 for a young girl who — to protect her family’s privacy — we’ll simply call Ellie.
For those unaware of her condition — and I suspect there are few in the Osoyoos community — Ellie is a tot struggling with a life-threatending condition, she and her family sequestered in a Lower Mainland hospital and dealing valiantly with one of those vicious curves life is known to occasional hurl our way.
Enter the Osoyoos community.
Under the watchful, helping hand of a core group of friends and others, events were organized, fundraisers fitted and messaging delivered to all who would listen and participate.
One of our own is in desperate need of assistance. One of our own needs to be lifted.
The love and compassion of a community was publicly manifest Saturday in an amazing, packed evening of celebration and hope at the Sage Pub. Upwards of 200 were on hand — each paying $25 to attend — to feast on donated roast beef and fixings, participate in live and silent auctions and generously turn over cash in other ways as well.
Local businesses, individuals and others gave from their hearts, providing the products and services for those auctions. Those attending answered, purchasing donated offerings at inflated cost and maximizing the return on compassionate investment.
When all was said and done, almost $41,000 was raised for Ellie and her family.
But the night was not complete. Raffles in the community added another $1,000 to the total and even the Osoyoos Coyotes and their fans participated, raising a further $345 in a special 50/50 draw at a Sun Bowl playoff game.
The love for this local family continues to build.
A GoFundMe effort has raised an additional $36,000, with 250 people — and counting — contributing over the last three weeks.
When it comes to the life of a loved one — especially that of a small child — all else pales in significance. Jobs are vacated, bills and commitments delayed and the incessant ordeal of daily struggle pushed aside.
The costs of maintaining a family are indifferent to our human condition, though. Time waits for no man, as the saying goes, and neither does the bookkeeper.
Thanks to the Osoyoos community’s generous, compassionate heart, Ellie’s family can focus on what’s most important — being with a daughter and supporting her in a fight to kick cancer.
Osoyoos, even as winter stretches its cold across our own little bit of water, look closely — look very closely.
You’ll see a reflection across our lake. It’s warm and wonderful and and absolutely beautiful.
— Andrew Stuckey