There is power in kindness. That was seen in the past week when a gentle soul named Wayne and his old dog Singer went from living on the streets of Penticton to being set up in a Winnebago, with money raised by the community of Penticton.
Kim Cameron, a full-time nurse, first met Wayne and Singer outside the Tim Hortons, near Walmart.
After speaking with Wayne about his situation, Cameron decided to start a GoFundMe page for Wayne and Singer. Her goal was to raise $9,000 to help buy a used camper van for Wayne and veterinarian bills to help Singer.
By Monday, April 26, just seven days later, more than $17,000 had been raised. But the kindness doesn’t stop there. Others reached out to Cameron asking how they could get involved.
A group of women, now named the Okanagan Angels, was formed with a goal of finding Wayne a camper van. He told them he loves horses and would trade his skills with horses for a place to lay his head.
Cameron told him how much the people of Penticton want to be there for him. “He couldn’t believe it. He just stared at me and said, ‘really?’” said Cameron.
Wayne is nomadic. He has travelled all over B.C. and into Alberta with Singer. He has been her human for more than 12 years. But Singer is in need of serious vet care with a lump on her hip that is bigger than a softball.
Wayne was living in his car up until last year, but the police impounded it for safety reasons, said Cameron.
He has been sleeping with Singer in a tent near the channel for the last six months. He has osteoarthritis and finds it hard to bend. But even in his state, he was still collecting bottles and cans and leaving them for others in need.
He tried staying at Compass House but people kept stealing from him, he said.
Lois Wager is one of the Okanagan Angels who joined those helping Wayne and Singer. She connected with a veterinarian and Critteraid Animal Sanctuary in Summerland to help his dog.
“Singer was at the vet and had a tissue sample taken and sent off. Critteraid kindly paid the vet cost today and will continue to take care of Singer’s future vet fees. How fantastic is that,” said Wager, who drove Wayne and Singer to the vet. The results from Singer’s tests aren’t known yet.
The group put Wayne up in a Penticton hotel while they searched for a camper van. Then on the weekend, Brad from Summerland, reached out to say he had a Winnebago that might be a perfect fit. Wayne and the angels went to check it out and now he is the proud new owner of a Winnebago.
“Thank you to all the people in our communities who helped in making this happen in seven days! I never dreamed this possible and yet here we are. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be a part of such a caring community,” said Cameron on Monday night on several Penticton Facebook groups.
Accent Fireplace and Gallery along with Penticton Husky are donating a $500 gift card and coffee for life.
“So many people have come forward with offerings for Wayne to see their horses and assist with them,” Cameron said.
A lot of people have asked if the Okanagan Angels are going to help others in similar situations in Penticton. “We agreed that the team wants to carry on helping people like Wayne and Singer. I also talked to Wayne about it,” Cameron said.
Wayne wants all the money raised in the GoFundMe to go to help others in need. “I can’t wait to start helping people too,” he told Cameron.
Cameron replied; “Wayne, you have no idea how many people you have already helped by all of this.”
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