Cowichan Valley teen ready to live a dream

A Cowichan Station girl is attending a dance camp at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School thanks to Help Fill a Dream.

A Cowichan Station girl is attending a dance camp at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School thanks to Help Fill a Dream.

Olivia Waugh, 15, an award- winning dancer with the Valley’s Adage Studio, has dreamed of riding her passion for performance all the way to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School for as long as she can remember.

She and her mother will be flying to Winnipeg on Friday, Aug. 5, so the dancer can participate in a two week summer camp at the home of the prestigious ballet company.

Waugh has Type 1 juvenile diabetes which presents her with a variety of daily challenges but she is able to use her love of dance as a way to both manage her disease through physical exercise, and as a way to alleviate the stress caused by the illness.

She is also a writer and photographer and plays volleyball.

The Foundation’s executive director, Craig Smith, explained during a meet and greet at the Corix Water Products location in Duncan Wednesday that not all dreams are born of desperation. It’s all about improving quality of life in many ways for children with life-threatening illnesses. And companies like Corix are a big part of funding that help.

“Corix holds a big fundraising golf tourney every year. They raised $600,000 last year and we are one of the charities of choice for this event. We’re here today because often the employees at the Corix branches don’t get to meet our Dream families. Olivia happens to be a local girl and this is a local Corix branch. It was a chance to see a real person whose dream is coming true,” Smith said.

This year’s sold-out tourney at Bear Mountain on Sept. 10, the 18th in the series, is sure to add even more to the coffers.

And the need is there to help families at many levels, Smith said.

“Help Fill A Dream first met Olivia when she was six. The organization has supported her love of dance by making it possible for her to attend a number of dance camps in the area over the past few years.”

The young dancer herself is delighted with it all.

“It’s really exciting,” Waugh said.

“First of all, I applied for the professional division camp. That’s where they take dancers and put them into the ballet company. I did not get into that division, but they have a similar recreation division which has a lot of the same staff. I got into that. It’s going to be very close to the actual thing. I think there will be lots of good training, good people and good experiences. And I’ll meet lots of other young people who are really passionate about dance. I think it will be a really great experience. I’m really excited,” she added.

Smith agreed that not everyone knows about all the ways Help Fill a Dream helps out.

“All children have to be classified as having a life-threatening condition and in Canada, Type 1 diabetes is classified as that. The Dreams are kind of the pinnacle of what we do, but we work with families through three different programs.

“First is Family Assistance. A family first may have to deal with a diagnosis and end up at BC Children’s Hospital and there are a lot of associated costs with that. We support families right from day one with that program.

“Another program is called Quality of Life, which is fairly broad. That’s anything from modifications to a home to accommodate a wheelchair or lift bars. We’ve bought special beds to turn kids over. Insulin pumps; oxymeters to monitor oxygen levels. We’ve funded therapeutic horseback riding. That’s where Olivia’s dance camps that help her manage the physical and mental aspects of her disease fit in,” Smith said.

“From an awareness aspect, it’s important to share that we do help with things like this. Olivia’s on her way Friday to this camp. Look at her smile. That’s what we work towards,” he said.