Summer feels like it’s over, and school is due to start, sooner than most of thought possible. For Avery Palmer, this fall means leaving her home in Nakusp and starting university at UBC in Vancouver. But Palmer is already leaving a legacy behind, one that caught the eye of former NHL player Trevor Linden.
It all started a few years ago with a trip to the Children’s Hospital when Palmer was 14. Travelling from Nakusp to Vancouver in order to find out whether or not Avery had a serious medical condition was a no-brainer, but not one without costs. The Palmer family had to find the money to spend two nights in the city as well as for the expense of the trip, a real barrier that many rural people face when they have to go to a larger centre to get the treatment they need.
“Some people have to go to Kelowna for weeks at a time,” said Palmer, recognizing the strain the cost of travel can add to health worries.
In Palmer’s case, the journey was a happy event twice over. Not only did she find out that she didn’t have a serious heart condition, she also found the inspiration to start up a society to help folks who needed financial help to to get medical attention.
That society, the Arrow Lakes Medical Aid Society, now has a board that helps applicants get to the help they need.
“We encourage people to get funding through groups like the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society first if they can,” Palmer said, but there are still people who can’t qualify for other sources of funding that find help at the Arrow Lakes Medical Aid Society.
The community has been very supportive of her project, and the annual Mother’s Day Community Fun Run has been one of a handful of fund raising events that keep the Society going.
Now that she is leaving Nakusp for university, Palmer’s legacy will continue, thanks to a couple of girls in grade 10 who will be taking on the responsibility for raising funds and awareness of the Society.
Her work setting up the Medical Aid Society helped her earn a Trevor Linden Community Spirit Scholarship for $2,000 this past June, a real coup for Palmer not only because of the money but also because she’s a big fan of Linden.
“I haven’t met Trevor Linden – yet,” she said, but she has sent an email saying thanks for the scholarship and asking if there is a possibility of thanking Linden in person.
Palmer’s big city adventure is off to a good start. Although she’ll be missed in Nakusp, it’s certain she has the heart to make the most of her time in Vancouver.