Kelowna’s good news year in review – May 2020

A look back at the good news from the month

Cycling to fight blindness

Wendy Robinson and Chris Wallinger look on as the tapes are returned to Marion Baker. (Greg Sakaki - Black Press Media )

Wendy Robinson and Chris Wallinger look on as the tapes are returned to Marion Baker. (Greg Sakaki - Black Press Media )

A Kelowna couple continues to pedal against loss of sight, leading a group of cyclists to raise funds for Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC).

Avid cyclists Jim and Pauline Marshall led a group of 12, called The Visionaries, on June 21 for a 25-kilometre loop around Gordon Drive. The group was able to raise $2,600 for FBC’s annual fundraiser Cycle for Sight.

Funds raised through FBC’s Cycle for Sight goes towards vision research, developing resources for the vision impaired, as well as developing treatments and cures for eye diseases.

Pauline said it is important for them to support FBC because they want to help fund research that could prevent eye disease and others going through what Jim is currently going through.

“And of course hopefully down the road, there will be ways they can restore vision. That’s what we’re very hopeful for, for people like Jim,” she said.

Over the years, Jim developed glaucoma, which he had been able to manage well.

But then three years ago, he suddenly lost his vision while on a trip to California with his wife, Pauline.

She added that with where research and technology are now, they believe Jim’s sight can be restored.

Above all, Pauline said she and Jim want to help others who may be having difficulties realize they can still live life and do all the things they love to do.

In all, Cycle for Sight 2020 raised $363,282.

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Lost family films returned decade later thanks to power of the internet

Jim and Pauline’s team, The Visionaries, raised $2,600 for vision research. (Photo courtesy of Jim and Pauline Marshall)

Jim and Pauline’s team, The Visionaries, raised $2,600 for vision research. (Photo courtesy of Jim and Pauline Marshall)

The world feels a little bit smaller for one Vancouver Island resident after 13 family films were returned to their rightful owner a decade after they were accidentally sold during a yard sale in Kelowna.

Chris Wallinger was at his parents’ house for Mother’s Day when he learned of a box of old Super 8 reels.

The recordings, with the name Thompson and a Victoria address written on them, were included in a projector box that Wallinger’s grandmother bought “10 or 11 years ago” at a garage sale in Kelowna. And, while the Wallinger family had always wanted to return the films, they never had the chance.

Wallinger snapped a couple of photos and posted his story on Reddit, where a someone quickly suggest he post it in a Facebook group called Old Victoria. Within half an hour, Jones found the death registration of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. Through Ancestry.com, Jones tracked down a relative who put Wallinger in contact with the family members on Vancouver Island.

“It was really exciting to confirm it was the right people and they were interested and that the films could go back,” said Jones.

Marion Baker was one of those family members.

Her parent’s names were on the tapes, saying she was amazed to get the call from Wallinger.

“I just couldn’t believe that somebody would go to that much trouble to get them back to us and I’m so thankful,” said Baker.

The recordings, which have videos of family vacations, Christmases and weddings from 1967 to 1981, are even more special to Baker as a lot of her family photos were lost to a fire at her sister’s house. She can’t wait to share the films were her three other sisters, who live in Vernon.

“It’s a very small world when it comes down to it,” she said.

Year in Review