Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, and big sister Avery celebrate the arrival of their new pool on Nov. 16, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Oliver Finlayson, 9, and big sister Avery celebrate the arrival of their new pool on Nov. 16, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)
Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)Oliver Finlayson, 9, tries out his new backyard pool. (Submitted)
Crews hoist the pool into position on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)Crews hoist the pool into position on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)
A crew arrives with the new pool for Oliver Finlayson on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)A crew arrives with the new pool for Oliver Finlayson on Nov. 16, 2020. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

It was a big day for Oliver Finlayson when his pool arrived on Monday, Nov. 16.

The pool will be a life-changer for nine-year-old Oliver, and it wouldn’t have happened without the help of the Cowichan Lake community. Through generous fundraising and in-kind work, the community made Oliver’s pool possible.

“I’ve never lived in such a special place where everyone still gives people the shirts off their backs,” Oliver’s mom, Amie Mattice said.

Oliver lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and time in the water is a big help in coping with the condition. Hydrotherapy helps him relax and helps him get stronger, not to mention that he just loves swimming. He was travelling to Duncan for hydrotherapy treatment at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, which was inconvenient enough before the facility shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week marks one year since the family started the process of buying and installing the pool.

“We started fundraising for a pool because we were sick and tired of going to Duncan all the time,” Mattice explained.

Among many other supporters, the Kinsmen Club, friends, family and the rest of the community have joined the campaign to help Oliver. The family has made more than $5,000 from collecting cans and bottles, and the Help Fill a Dream Foundation contributed $10,000.

“Lots of people have come together to fundraise,” Mattice commented.

Oliver was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a neuromuscular disorder, five years ago, shortly after the family moved to Lake Cowichan from Sooke. Among other effects, Oliver will lose the ability to walk as he grows up.

“By the early teens, the heart and respiratory muscles may also be affected,” reads an explanation on Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s website. “A diagnosis of DMD includes a shortened life expectancy and the expectation that eventually, equipment such as a wheelchair and respiratory aids will be required. With exciting new advances in research into DMD over recent years, incredible increases in quality of life and life expectancy are being experienced by patients.”

There are ways to stem the effects of DMD, such as hydrotherapy, and Oliver is taking part in a clinical trial at BC Children’s Hospital. He is aware of his condition, but that doesn’t make things easier for the family.

“He knows what’s going to happen,” Mattice said. “But it’s still not easy to talk about in front of him.”

The pool isn’t the only addition to the Finlayson-Mattice residence that has been made possible by the community’s generosity. Neighbours Al and Janene coordinated an effort between Karlite Manufacturing and Irly Bird to get a ramp built at the front steps, and another couple, Tonya and Chris Halusiak, got Coastal Concrete Works and Surespan involved in building the pad for the pool in the backyard.

Gary Miller also donated time and materials to help get the pool up and running.

“A lot of people have come together,” Mattice said. Even now that it is installed, the family still owes a good chunk of money for the pool. To get it paid off, they will continue to collect cans, and have a GoFundMe site set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-pool-for-oliver

cowichan valleyfundraiserLake Cowichan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longlake Chateau in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak now over at seniors’ facility in Nanaimo

Island Health commends Longlake Chateau for containing the spread of the virus

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: RCMP say Wakesiah Avenue fire was arson, suspect has been arrested

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions continue. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
B.C. restaurants to get COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ grant extension

Tourism promised $100 million boost when travel resumes

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

Most Read