Unique fundraiser for Comox Valley Baby Born 16 Weeks Premature – Comox Valley Record Valley


Submitted by Christina Nienaber-Roberts

Special on The Record

A local naturopath is in the middle of a unique donation campaign for YANA.

You Are Not Alone (YANA) is a Comox Valley charity that supports families with children who need medical care away from home. On June 1st, Christina Nienaber-Roberts from the Comox Valley started a 100-day challenge to achieve 6,000 sun greetings in this time.

The drive is inspired by Baby Hunter Carr.

Hunter was born on September 22nd in Calgary at the age of 24 weeks and weighed only 1 lb. 2 oz. Because our gut, lungs, and brain weren’t fully developed at this early stage, his chances of staying alive were precarious.

Baby Hunter’s hand, holding a finger, gives an indication of how small he was when he was born. Photo courtesy Stephanie and Tom Carr

So his great-aunt, a Valley resident, asked her friend Christina if she could offer remote energy healing to Hunter and his family. This request could not have come at a more perfect time, because with COVID Christina’s work as an NPH suddenly came to a standstill. As a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and yoga teacher with additional training in various energy work styles, she was unable to offer personal sessions or courses because she has a clinic and yoga studio at home and her husband’s immune system was weakened from the recent cancer treatment. Under the circumstances, she had considered volunteering without leaving home, so the request for remote support for Hunter and his family was a perfect fit!

Since Hunter’s life may have been so scanty at the time, Christina called on some of her like-sounding friends around the world to join her in assisting Hunter and his family through meditations / prayers, distant healing of energy, or simply giving them all in their hearts hold or send loving thoughts on their way. The answer was in the words of Hunter Nana (Brenda’s sister) Kathy: “Overwhelming – all this wonderful support means so much to us.”

Thanks to Hunter, a whole support community spontaneously formed, which gave many who are part of it a good reason to focus on the pandemic and send positive energy – a time that could so easily feel very isolating. Of course, this was only a small part of the support circle of Hunter’s family, which included a very experienced and committed medical team as well as their own extended family and mutual friends. As far as the COVID directive allows, ie

At the center of it all were Hunter’s parents, Stephanie and Tom, who kept him in their constant loving care, for during the many months he was in the hospital they took turns being with Hunter and mostly held him in their arms . while he takes turns looking after his two older siblings. Because of COVID, no one else could help – not even Nana Kathy.

Although Hunter, now 10 months old, is thriving and laughing out loud, he has faced many physical challenges including two abdominal surgeries and surgeries on both eyes that were affected by his ongoing need for oxygen. He’s also had a series of tests and still has minor heart surgery ahead of him, as well as possibly the removal of his left eye due to shrinkage.

Baby Hunter Carr. Photo courtesy Stephanie and Tom Carr

Despite all these enormous challenges, Hunter is a little bundle of love and joy and his good eye is literally sparkling in all the photos. No wonder his support groups are all head over heels in love with him. He is a true heart opener, a ray of sunshine – and a treasure for his Nana, who meanwhile had to struggle with a number of life-threatening health challenges herself: heart attack and stroke as well as aggressive cancer. Another close relative has dealt with a lung tumor in addition to newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease, and others have faced health challenges as well. As a very close-knit family, they have mastered every new development with infinite grace, saying that they feel really well supported by their medical teams, their friends and family near and far, and by the energetic support of the world community who evolved around Hunter.

Why do we share all of this? Hopefully so that some families with similar challenges know that you are not alone – YANA is there for you. And don’t be shy: if you share your story it will touch people’s hearts and they will offer any kind of support, maybe beyond what you might expect!

“Receiving is an act of giving”, they say, and “as we give, we receive”.

Both have been proven time and again with Hunter, his family, and their global community. Christina, for example, got so much! Hunter’s plight brought her back to remote healing, something she hadn’t done in many years; Hunter helped her reconnect with friends far and wide; and Hunter’s group has also begun reaching out to others in the county who have faced health problems or to family members who have had health problems. Only last week Christina herself had to ask the district for active support to South Africa, where her beloved niece in Johannesburg (Gauteng) fell ill with COVID-19 and was seriously ill. And now Hunter has given Christina the perfect opportunity to do more by inspiring this fundraiser for YANA and hopefully sharing his story to raise awareness of the wonderful work YANA is doing. Because if Hunter had been born in Comox Valley, not in Calgary, he would not have been able to get the intensive care he needed for the past 10 months in his home community – his family would have had to travel with him and live away from home for many months.

So on June 1st, Christina started a 14-day solo retreat at her home to deepen her yoga practice and get a jump start on her promise of 6,000 sun salutations. Since their practice is slower and more mediative than most of the others, that will be at least 600 hours – the equivalent of two 300-hour yoga teacher training courses in a row – possibly even more. It can turn out to be quite a challenge, and that’s exactly what it is meant to be, in honor of all the challenges Hunter and his amazing family have already overcome with such grace – and still face. The Sun Salutation Challenge will take three months to complete and luckily it will end by the time Dr. Bonnie Henry may be able to return to a more “normal” life in early September and Christina may be able to start her business again. With even greater luck, after setting a goal, Christina realized that September would be Hunter’s first birthday month (he wasn’t born until January of the following year); and it can also happen that Nana Kathy completes her first round of chemotherapy.

As soon as the 100-day sun salutation challenge is over, Christina will have another hunter-related fundraiser for YANA up her sleeve – so check out this place!

Meanwhile, Christina challenges other yogis and yoginis – to do something similar for a charity of your heart!

Christina’s dream is to collect a dollar for every sun salutation. So if the story of Hunter and his family touched your heart – or the 6,000 Sun Salutation Challenge inspired you – and you want to support YANA, there are several ways people can donate (all listed on www.yanacomoxvalley.com). The simplest options are usually:

• E-transfer to [email protected] Don’t forget to mention the name of the 6000 Sun Greetings fundraiser so that the funds can be allocated properly. YANA is set up for automatic deposits.

• Checks can be mailed to the YANA office, 102-256 Rosewall Crescent, Courtenay, BC V9N 8R9.

• Cash or checks can be handed in at the YANA office. Office hours are on Tuesdays and

Thursdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

With a thank you in advance from YANA, Hunter and his family, Christina and the Circle, who support our little hero!

Text and photos submitted by: Christina Nienaber-Roberts, MSc, RNHPCA, RYT, RCST

www.relaxandfeelradiant.com; (250) 890-9008


Christina Nienaber-Roberts started a 100-day challenge trying to get 6,000 sun greetings.  Photo by Kim Letson

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