Judy Lynne is keeping her son's memory alive - and helping others - through song and a fundraising legacy.
Lynne's son Neil Falkner died on April 12, 2002, in the Canadian Rockies, the result of a back country skiing accident in whiteout conditions.
He was a 32-year-old Whistler ski patroller and avalanche safety expert at his peak. Sixteen years earlier, as a troubled youth in a dysfunctional family, he was sent on a three-week Outward Bound wilderness program that turned his life around.
Now Lynne is making the opportunity available to other youth who, like Falkner, may be struggling with self-doubt, poor choices and acting out in self-destructive ways. One of those kids will be from the Sunshine Coast, and one will be from the East Vancouver school that Falkner attended when he went to Outward Bound in 1986. Lynne is hosting a fundraiser to help make that possible and to build the fund for years to come.
The fundraiser, Empowering Kids and Youth, will be heldApril 19 at the Roberts Creek Hall starting at 8 p.m. and will feature James & Jamesy (of 2 for Tea), Jean-Pierre Makosso, Lowry Olafson (and the Theme Song Singers) and more, including music by DJ Lucy (Rhythm City Productions) for the dance party until midnight.
There is also a free event for youth from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. the same day with a giant Easter egg hunt, clowns, crafts and music.
Tickets for the evening event are $15 in advance, available at Gaia's, MELOmania and Strait Music and $18 at the door. Admission is $5 for kids 12 and under.
Funds are also being raised through a silent auction that will be displayed all day at the hall. The auction will be active online from April 8 to 18. Find it at www.32auctions.com/NeilFalkner.
Lynne fostered the song portion of the fundraising legacy when she contacted Olafson to help create a song.
"Creating the scholarship and holding an annual fundraiser has always been about keeping Neil's memory alive, wanting people to know him," she said. "Sending kids on Outward Bound journeys was the right thing and a lot less work than establishing and maintaining a non-profit myself. The people who came together to build our song with Lowry included two young people, now in their 20s, who received Neil's scholarship, two school counsellors, my two other children, a friend of Neil's, my 10-month-old grandson, and a couple of my very supportive friends. I love the song and we will be launching it at the fundraiser.
"I love it because it includes something of each of us who created it. And I love it because it helped me shift my focus to community. And though I've always understood that I needed to promote the scholarship as a benefit for schools, families, kids and communities, it's taken me 12 years to embrace that for myself and to engage with other people and organizations that are empowering young people."
The theme of the April fundraiser is Empowering Kids and Youth. "We want to bring people and organizations together in one place to celebrate the many creative and inspiring ways we can make the Sunshine Coast a safe and empowering place for young people," Lynne said. "By holding a free afternoon event for kids and families, we hope people and organizations with a common purpose will want to participate."
For more details on the fundraiser, contact Lynne at 604-886-7334. See more details on the complete fundraising campaign at www.neilfalknerlegacy.com.
© Coast Reporter