Marion Gordon and her partner Don Sipos display samples of photographs contributed to an auction fundraiser for Capital News photographer Sean Connor

Photographers rally to help one of their own

Kerry Park in Kelowna's downtown core the site of a photograph auction to help out Capital News photographer Sean Connor deal with the costs of being treated for a brain tumour.  

For years,  Capital News photographer Sean Connor has pointed his lens at the Central Okanagan. Now, the Central Okanagan has an opportunity to focus on him.

Connor, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in July, has to go to California for specialized radiation treatment available at only two treatment facilities in North America— Harvard University in Boston and the hospital at Loma Linda University, near San Bernadino in southern California.

While the B.C. Medical Services Plan will cover the cost of the treatments at Loma Linda, Connor will be responsible for getting to and from California twice — once for an interview and initial tests and again in about a month’s time for the four to six weeks of treatment— as well as accommodation while he is there. Connor has said that any money not needed for his expenses will be donated to the Chordoma Foundation,to help fund research into the type of cancer he has.

In August, Connor underwent two surgeries to remove the tumour around his brain, a tumour that initially affected his eyesight. The surgeries went well and after his recovery, Connor left Kelowna for California on Wednesday for the the first meeting with doctors at the California hospital.

This weekend, a group of his friends will hold a fundraising auction on Saturday at Kerry Park   to help raise money to help him with his expenses.

The auction will feature local celebrity auctioneers selling donated photographs, some framed and some mounted on display boards, as well as a piece of  aboriginal abstract art.

The donated pictures have come from photographers from as far away as Victoria, Salmon Arm, Fort St. John and Vernon, as well his colleagues here in the Kelowna area, said organizer Don Sipos.

Both the Capital News and the Daily Courier have contributed photographs for the auction.

Sipos said there will be 25 pictures up for grabs, with the five or six framed ones starting at $100 each and the remaining unframed pictures starting at $50 each.

Included in the list of celebrity auctioneers will be former CHBC reporter and community activist Mohini Singh and Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

Sipos, who met Connor 10 years ago when they both worked as photographers in Edmonton, said when he put out the word that his friend needed help, there was no shortage of offers to help and donations.

While some of the pictures have come from photographers who know Connor and his work, others that that will be on the block Saturday have come from artists who just wanted to help and responded to requests,in some cases second hand, for donations.

“The response has been great,”  said Sipos.

Connor, who has won several provincial and national awards for his work at the Capital News over the last 5 1/2 years, has also had his photographs featured in several displays and art shows here, including a major display at the Kelowna Museum a few years ago of pictures he took while travelling with the Canadian Armed Forced oversees before coming to work at the Capital News.

The outdoor public auction in Kerry Park, at the foot of Bernard Avenue  in Kelowna’s downtown core, is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.


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