Dancers step lively for young cancer victim

Qualicum Beach School of Dance gets plenty of help for Jan. 30 show at Ballenas Secondary

Two-year-old Samuel Naylor of French Creek

After a group of her dancers enjoyed a performance trip to Disneyland last year, Qualicum Beach School of Dance owner Shari Selva wanted to do something to give back to the community that generously donated funds for the trip.

Payback comes Saturday, Jan. 30, when the school’s dancers are joined by many of the Island’s other top dance groups in Dancing for the Naylors, a benefit recital at Ballenas Secondary School’s Whalebone Theater.

“It’s going to be an amazing evening of talented youth from across the Island,” said Selva. “I’m hoping we’ll raise a big amount of money.”

All proceeds raised from the event will benefit the family of John and Marie Naylor of Parksville, whose two-year-old son, Samuel, was diagnosed last year with a brain tumor.

“We’re pretty blown away by the generosity of people doing that,” John Naylor said.

Selva was alerted to the Naylors’ situation when she spied a collection jar on a checkout counter at Qualicum Foods on a routine shopping outing last fall. The family has five children, two of whom suffer from epilepsy. After young Samuel underwent surgery at B.C. Children’s Hospital and embarked on a treatment of aggressive chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, Marie was forced to take leave from her job.

The family’s expenses had ballooned even as its income fell, creating a need that the community has been quick to fill.

Upon spotting the collection tin, Selva promptly alerted her school’s other instructors, including classical ballet teacher Colette Schilberg. Coincidentally, Schillberg taught Jasmin Naylor several years ago at Parksville Ballet School.

“I came back to the studio and said, ‘How about this family?’” said Selva. “Colette said she knew the family; she has a son with epilepsy, too.”

With assistance from School District 69, Selva began planning a late-winter dance show to help raise funds for the Naylors. Casual inquiries to other schools in the region brought a prompt and vigorous response.

Instructor Jennifer Walsh, centre, guides dancers through their paces at Qualicum Beach School of Dance last fall. The school will host a fundraising dance show Jan. 30 at Ballenas Elementary School. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

Éclat, a pre-professional ballet company that has included some high-level QBSD dancers, volunteered to join. DanceStreams Academy, which draws top talent from the North and Mid-Island, will also attend, along with Mike McInnes Dance Company of Campbell River.

And Parksville’s Innovate Dance Arts (the former Parksville Ballet School) and its competitive Helix Dance Theatre Company have also hopped aboard for the cause.

“I’m happy for our two schools to be joining forces,” said Selva. “It’s nice to see our students working together. It’s working up to be a fantastic show.”

Money raised may help the Naylors purchase hearing aids for Samuel, who has sustained some hearing loss from the chemotherapy. Surgeons attempted to remove a medulloblastoma that had wrapped around his brain stem where it connects to the spinal cord, but were unable to remove all of the malignant, Level 4 tumor.

Since then, Samuel has had two stem-cell transplants, multiple magnetic-resonance imaging exams, kidney scans, hearing tests and battery of blood transfusions.

“This has been a long, hard road for us the last eight months,” Marie Naylor said in a written release. “What keeps us going is the love and support of our local community, which has been incredible. We couldn’t have coped as well as we have without their generosity and support.”

Several platforms have been set up to aid the family, including a Go Fund Me account that has raised more than $15,000 since being set up last May, a Facebook page (Samuel & His Family Need Our Help) and an account at TD Bank under the names of John or Samuel Naylor.

“If someone in the public can’t attend the show, they can still support the family with their medical need by making a donation,” Selva said.

The dance show begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 30. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. A family package of four tickets is available for $40. Tickets may be purchased in advance at both Qualicum Beach School of Dance, in the Qualicum Commons, and at Innovate Dance Arts, 425 Stanford Ave. in Parksville. Tickets are also being sold at ReVived Vintage in Qualicum Beach and at the door.

After a group of her dancers enjoyed a performance trip to Disneyland last year, Qualicum Beach School of Dance owner Shari Selva wanted to do something to give back to the community that generously donated funds for the trip.

Payback comes Saturday, Jan. 30, when the school’s dancers are joined by many of the Island’s other top dance groups in Dancing for the Naylors, a benefit recital at Ballenas Secondary School’s Whalebone Theater.

“It’s going to be an amazing evening of talented youth from across the Island,” said Selva. “I’m hoping we’ll raise a big amount of money.”

All proceeds raised from the event will benefit the family of John and Marie Naylor of Parksville, whose two-year-old son, Samuel, was diagnosed last year with a brain tumor.

“We’re pretty blown away by the generosity of people doing that,” John Naylor said.

Selva was alerted to the Naylors’ situation when she spied a collection jar on a checkout counter at Qualicum Foods on a routine shopping outing last fall. The family has five children, two of whom suffer from epilepsy. After young Samuel underwent surgery at B.C. Children’s Hospital and embarked on a treatment of aggressive chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, Marie was forced to take leave from her job.

The family’s expenses had ballooned even as its income fell, creating a need that the community has been quick to fill.

Upon spotting the collection tin, Selva promptly alerted her school’s other instructors, including classical ballet teacher Colette Schilberg. Coincidentally, Schillberg taught Jasmin Naylor several years ago at Parksville Ballet School.

“I came back to the studio and said, ‘How about this family?’” said Selva. “Colette said she knew the family; she has a son with epilepsy, too.”

With assistance from School District 69, Selva began planning a late-winter dance show to help raise funds for the Naylors. Casual inquiries to other schools in the region brought a prompt and vigorous response.

Instructor Jennifer Walsh, centre, guides dancers through their paces at Qualicum Beach School of Dance last fall. The school will host a fundraising dance show Jan. 30 at Ballenas Elementary School. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

Éclat, a pre-professional ballet company that has included some high-level QBSD dancers, volunteered to join. DanceStreams Academy, which draws top talent from the North and Mid-Island, will also attend, along with Mike McInnes Dance Company of Campbell River.

And Parksville’s Innovate Dance Arts (the former Parksville Ballet School) and its competitive Helix Dance Theatre Company have also hopped aboard for the cause.

“I’m happy for our two schools to be joining forces,” said Selva. “It’s nice to see our students working together. It’s working up to be a fantastic show.”

Money raised may help the Naylors purchase hearing aids for Samuel, who has sustained some hearing loss from the chemotherapy. Surgeons attempted to remove a medulloblastoma that had wrapped around his brain stem where it connects to the spinal cord, but were unable to remove all of the malignant, Level 4 tumor.

Since then, Samuel has had two stem-cell transplants, multiple magnetic-resonance imaging exams, kidney scans, hearing tests and battery of blood transfusions.

“This has been a long, hard road for us the last eight months,” Marie Naylor said in a written release. “What keeps us going is the love and support of our local community, which has been incredible. We couldn’t have coped as well as we have without their generosity and support.”

Several platforms have been set up to aid the family, including a Go Fund Me account that has raised more than $15,000 since being set up last May, a Facebook page (Samuel & His Family Need Our Help) and an account at TD Bank under the names of John or Samuel Naylor.

“If someone in the public can’t attend the show, they can still support the family with their medical need by making a donation,” Selva said.

The dance show begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 30. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. A family package of four tickets is available for $40. Tickets may be purchased in advance at both Qualicum Beach School of Dance, in the Qualicum Commons, and at Innovate Dance Arts, 425 Stanford Ave. in Parksville. Tickets are also being sold at ReVived Vintage in Qualicum Beach and at the door.

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