Many stories in the Chemainus area captured the attention of the public in 2017

A recap of the top five that really hit home

It’s been a busy and eventful six months since the Courier started producing a weekly newspaper at the end of June.

Before we head into 2018, we thought we’d look back on the last six months of 2017 and these are our picks as the top five stories from that time period:

1. Charlotte Cathro – The three-year-old Chemainus girl was diagnosed with leukemia in March and it’s been a hectic time since then for the family with frequent trips to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and Victoria General Hospital for treatments.

Charlotte finishes the most intense part of her treatment at the end of December after nine long months and will begin the new year on maintenance. That will be less aggressive and last for 20 months.

Recent chemotherapy has taken a heavy toll, but Charlotte is a trooper and all are hopeful she’ll continue to get healthier.

Parents Dan Cathro and Jayne Hardy Cathro are extremely grateful to the community for all its support during this difficult time. Neighbours have randomly brought over baking or dinner and helped raise money for them through a GoFundMe account.

With Dan having to take time off work and Jayne on maternity leave three times in the last five years during the births of their children, the community support has meant a great deal.

2. Waynes Road house fire – A massive fire destroyed a home on the Stz’uminus Reserve and displaced a family just two weeks before Christmas.

The family spent six days in a motel and then relocated to a community building near the burned-out home.

They were grateful to receive considerable clothing donations from the community since they only escaped from the fire with the clothes on their back and nothing else.

The items they couldn’t use were donated to the Salvation Army.

The house was so badly burned it eventually collapsed and the remainder was torn down. It was considered unlikely the cause would ever be determined.

3. Shannon Peck – The Chemainus resident spent considerable time and effort trying to find her birth mother and father.

Shannon always knew she was adopted, but wanted to find out more about where she came from.

She finally met her birth father this year, who’s from Rochester, New York, but her birth mother has so far resisted any contact.

Shannon found out her birth mother and father had met in Europe. Her birth mother was on vacation and didn’t find out she was pregnant until she returned home to Alberta.

Along the way, Shannon rediscovered her passion for art and an exhibit she put together revolving around her life story captured considerable attention.

4. Chemainus Theatre Festival 25th anniversary – The momentous occasion was celebrated in late June.

There were many lean times in the early days when the theatre could hardly attract a small audience, but it’s become a primary destination for people from around the region and beyond.

The summer’s Rock Legends performance went on to break box office records as the best attended show of all time.

The theatre’s future remains bright and Grease will be the headline show next summer.

On a sad note, founder Ken Smith died a few months after the anniversary. But most were grateful he was there to join the 25th anniversary festivities, considering he contributed so much and has left an amazing legacy.

5. Jack Rochon – The famous Chemainus hockey coach was inducted into the North Cowichan-Duncan Sports Wall of Fame in mid-November.

Jack did so much for the development of hockey players and the sport in general during the early years of Fuller Lake Arena.

Players like Doug Bodger and Robin Bawa, who went on to the National Hockey League, made the most of his expertise and guidance.

Jack has battled Parkinson’s disease for several years but, like the hockey teams he coached, he is giving it an intense fight.

So many other fascinating and interesting stories made it a year to remember and we look forward to documenting all the happenings of 2018 that’s sure to be just as eventful.


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