Creston’s Women of Distinction luncheon returns

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  • Feb. 3, 2012 8:00 p.m.
A Women of Distinction luncheon will be held next month to raise funds for Jenni Jacobs

A Women of Distinction luncheon will be held next month to raise funds for Jenni Jacobs

From 2001-2006, six Creston women were honoured as Women of Distinction as part of a series of fundraisers organized by the Creston and District Community Resource Centre. Now one of the original organizers, Julie Miller, is bringing back the luncheon to honour Jenni Jacobs.

“We are going to use the luncheon as a fundraiser to help send Jenni back to Camp Sundown in New York, hopefully this summer,” Miller said last week. “We are going to honour her as a young woman who has dreams and aspirations in spite of having a rare, chronic disorder that places severe limits on her options.”

Jacobs, a Lower Kootenay Band resident who recently completed her high school studies, has xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) a rare genetic disorder that affects one in a million North Americans. She is extremely sensitive to sun and other sources of light and has undergone several operations to remove skin malignancies.

Many suffers of XP lose their eyesight because eyes are especially sensitive to light. Their life expectancy is typically shortened by the effects of the disorder.

“Jenni is an inspiration to others,” Miller said. “We will honour the strength that she demonstrates in her life as she tries to be as much like other teenagers as she possibly can.”

Helping to offset the costs of a return trip to Camp Sundown is one way to help Jacobs achieve another dream, one of which was fulfilled late last summer when she was flown by helicopter to a nighttime party at the Rotary Splash Park in Centennial Park.

Camp Sundown is a “night camp” in Craryville, N.Y., created to offer sun sensitive children and their families a way to meet others with similar problems. At the facility, families can search for solutions and XP sufferers can experience camp life as other young people do, but on a different time clock. Since her first visit to Camp Sundown a few years ago, Jenni has expressed a wish to return, perhaps as a peer counsellor. She hopes to make the trip to New York by train so that she can see part of the continent from the ground, rather than from an airplane.

The Women of Distinction luncheon will be held on March 7, in a location yet to be announced. Tickets will be available at the community resource centre (top floor of the Family Practice Medical Clinic on 16th Avenue North) or Creston Card and Stationery.

Women who were honoured in previous luncheons include Mary Basil, Freda Brockner, Jane Blackmore, Jill Fehr, Virginia Paccassi Naeve and Elizabeth Hutton.

“We are going to attempt to recreate the energy that those previous luncheons had,” Miller said.

For more information or to volunteer help with the luncheon, contact Miller at jmiller@ekass.com or 250-428-5547.