Son’s care inspires Mill Bay artist to donate jewelry for auction

A First Nations artist who lives in Mill Bay is offering special artwork for auction as a payback

A First Nations artist who lives in Mill Bay is offering special artwork for auction as a payback for the help he and his family received when son, Callum was born in 2014 with a birth defect.

Alex Helin and Artina’s Jewellery in Victoria and Vancouver are donating 14-karat gold First Nations earring and pendant sets, worth $3,700 each, to the British Columbia Children’s Hospital to auction off on Nov. 18 and to Victoria General Hospital, for an auction the next day, Nov. 19.

Although born in Nanaimo, Helin carves in a traditional Tsimshian Nation style, reflecting his family heritage.

The sets being auctioned represent the union of mother and child.

“There is nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her children. This is something we had seen a lot of during our hospital stays. It’s amazing how holding your children can heal so much.” he said.

“I chose the hummingbird as a symbol of joy, healing, and love and the eagle for strength, power and extraordinary vision.”


The young boy’s situation required prompt action. After an emergency medevac from Vancouver Island, Callum Alexander Helin was born eight weeks early on Nov. 24, 2014 weighing in at 4 pounds 2 ounces.

Doctors discovered that tracheoesophageal fistula, a birth defect, had left his esophagus separated with the lower part attached to his trachea. He was transported to British Columbia Children’s Hospital for surgery to correct the problem.

The family, including their two-year-old daughter, stayed near the hospital for three months until Callum was transferred to Victoria General Hospital for four months. Then they commuted daily from their home in Mill Bay.

“He was very well loved in VGH,” Helin says. “It was always hard waiting and not knowing what would happen next. Thanks to such an amazing team of surgeons and BCCH, Callum’s life is forever changed. We couldn’t be more grateful for everyone’s input and decision making. They are professional and loving beyond words.”

Although Callum will continue to have his challenges his prognosis is excellent, Helin said.

Helin has worked for more than 10 years with Artina’s, which engages more than 100 top Canadian jewelry designers.