Sooke is going above and beyond to support Landen Alexa, a local child struggling with a rare form of arthritis.
“I kind of had to take a step back with fundraising because of how busy I’ve been with school and Landen,” said Jillian Lanthier, Landen’s mother. “So to see the community come together to help us like this, I am speechless. I love Sooke as a community, and I have no plans of ever leaving.”
On Monday, Feb. 12, Maple Forge Farm and Equestrian Centre in Sooke will be holding a pony party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and everyone is welcome. For $10, kids can play dress up, get their face painted, ride ponies and enjoy baking, hot dogs and hot chocolate.
People planning to attend are encouraged to contact Maple Fordge Farm in advance, and bring a helmet for their child if they plan on riding a pony. Half of the proceeds from the event will go towards Landen.
Another event upcoming is a Boz Roz–Remember John Lennon benefit concert on Feb. 16 starting at 8 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke. Tickets cost $20 and will be available at the door the night of the show; all proceeds will go to Landen.
Last June, Landen was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis , or SJIA, a disease that causes his body to attack itself, leaving him with crippling muscle and joint pain and with virtually no immune system.
Landen’s medicine is no longer working effectively, and the only option for treatment Ilarus, a drug that costs $19,000 a month, and is not covered by B.C. Pharmacare.
So far, through a Go Fund Me page, Lanthier has raised more than $15,000.
One of the biggest upcoming fundraisers planned is a family carnival and concert on March 3 at the Sooke Community Hall. The carnival, which will include a D.J., games, bouncy castles, a magician and a photo booth, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is by donation.
The adult concert and dance, featuring the band SuperSauce, will begin at 8:30. Tickets can be bought in advance at Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse or at Shoppers Drug Mart for $10, or for $15 at the door.
Marg Ayres, organizer of the event, said she was amazed and very thankful for how much Sooke has already contributed towards the event.
“We are looking forward to coming out and meeting people at the events, and thanking people for what they’ve done for us,” said Lanthier.
Axe and Barrel and Mr. Mikes in Langford are both planning on hosting “beer and burger” nights to raise money, and there is also an ongoing bottle drive happening for Landen. Bottles can be donated at the Sooke Bottle Depot.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I seriously have that right now. That village for me is Sooke, and I don’t know how to express how grateful I am,” Lanthier said.
To donate to the event on March 3, contact Marg Ayres at firstname.lastname@example.org.