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GoFundMe names North Vancouver the most generous community in Canada

Harrowing escapes from war-torn Ukraine and heartbreaking medical fights are among the campaigns supported by North Van residents on the crowd-funding site.

According to one of Canada’s top crowd-funding sites, there are some awfully kind and selfless people on the North Shore.

For the second year in a row, North Vancouver has been crowned the most generous community in Canada by the crowd-funding site GoFundMe.

The honour was bestowed on the local community in GoFundMe’s year-end report, which named 2022’s Top 10 most generous cities in the country.

“Through the storms, sickness and new opportunities, people’s willingness to help others continued to shine through even the darkest times,” said Meghan Weltman, spokesperson for GoFundMe.

Four other B.C. cities made it on to the Top 10 most generous list this year: Vancouver, New Westminster, Victoria and Nanaimo. Other Canadian cities named were Burlington, Belleville, Kingston, Guelph and Peterborough.

Stats measure donations by North Vancouver residents

GoFundMe tallies its most generous cities by calculating how many donations were made by donors in cities with populations over 50,000 (thereby presumably eliminating West Vancouver from the contest, because of its small population). While the statistics measure donations from North Vancouver residents, the campaigns they go to don’t have to be local – they can be any fundraising campaigns across the globe.

That said, a number of notable fundraisers did happen on the North Shore last year.

Medical campaigns topped the list

Among them, most recently, the family and friends of rugby player Nick Allen raised more than $267,000 to pay for medical bills and bring Allen home after he was in a serious motor vehicle accident in Bali, Indonesia and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Money raised went to pay overseas medical costs and to bring Allen back to Vancouver. As of Dec. 8, Allen’s family reported that he is back in the Lower Mainland, where he is in hospital facing a long road to recovery.

Other North Shore campaigns for locals suffering unexpected medical diagnoses also raised significant money this year.

Among them, more than $48,000 was raised for teenager and music teacher Tia Skye Harris, who was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumor.

More than $42,000 was also raised to help costs associated with pursuing out-of-province cancer treatment for “Soup Meister” Ralf Dauns, who simmered and served boundless bowls of the comforting dish from his Soup Meister business on the ground floor of Lonsdale Quay Market for nearly 27 years. Dauns died Nov. 23.

Families helped to flee from Ukraine

Several campaigns were also launched by people in North Vancouver to help families from Ukraine find safety in Canada. Among them, Stephanie Clark raised more than $32,000 to bring members of an extended family from the eastern Ukrainian town of Rubezhone to safety on the North Shore.

“My hope in starting this fundraising campaign is that as a community, as Canadians, we wrap our arms around these kids and their parents to make them feel welcome, supported, and safe. And to give them the financial footing which they can launch from,” Clark wrote on her GoFundMe page. She followed up in June with an update on the family’s progress on the North Shore.

“I wish all new immigrants had the benefit of a generous community like ours,” she said.

In another case, donors raised more than $30,000 to help another Ukrainian family escape from the embattled city of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

“Escaping the war is difficult for everyone, but my family’s situation is particularly challenging,” wrote Kseniya Yakovenko. He described how his grandpa, Genndiy, suffered a massive stroke a few days after the Russian invasion began, leaving him paralyzed on his right side and unable to care for himself or move without considerable assistance

“Russia is reducing Kharkiv to rubble, which means my family will soon be homeless. Canada is their best and only option. My father and I, and our Ukrainian family members, are in a horrible predicament and need your help,” wrote Yakovenko.

Their efforts paid off. In mid-October the family arrived at Vancouver International Airport at the end of a long and perilous journey to begin their new life on the North Shore.

“Thank you, all of you saved our lives,” wrote Yakovenko.

Other campaigns included $12,000 raised by Swaysǝn, Will George, a grassroots leader and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, towards a spiritual canoe journey in opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, and campaigns to help a pizza maker who was attacked by a stranger in Lower Lonsdale. Another campaign raised money to help a family burned out of their home in a blaze in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) community of Xwemelch’stn (Capilano 5 reserve).

According to the year-end report by GoFundMe, one donation is made to the crowd-funding site every second. It has raised $25 billion since the site was launched. Ireland was deemed the most generous country, for the fourth year in a row.

Freedom Convoy donations not included

GoFundMe tactfully didn’t refer in its year-end report to one of its biggest fundraising campaigns of the year: the roughly $10 million raised by supporters of the Freedom Convoy truckers who occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks in February.

The campaign was eventually suspended for violating the company’s terms of service, with the funds refunded to donors.

Weltman said none of those donations were included in the most generous community calculations.

After the GoFundMe campaign was shut down, a leaked report showed people who live on the North Shore donated more than $29,000 to that cause through the GiveSendGo platform.

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