Bright Nights festival brings Christmas cheer and raises money for burn survivors

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Photo by Clayton Paterson
White Spot volunteers trimmed one of eight trees, which will compete with other benefactor companies for text-message donations that go towards the Burn Fund. Photo: Clayton Paterson.

The 15th annual Bright Nights in Stanley Park event is coming up, ready to entertain people of all ages while also raising money for the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Volunteers have been working for the past few months to prepare the park for this event which will feature brightly lit displays, live music and entertainment, a train tour around the park, activities for kids and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Past success fuels optimism for this year’s event

Ray Boucher, director of the Burn Fund and a 34 year veteran of the Coquitlam fire department, has organized the last 13 events and hopes to make this year’s as successful as it has been in the past.

“Last year we brought in over $200,000, and that’s just from donations at the gate,” said Boucher.

Raising awareness as important as raising money

In addition to raising money, Boucher said that one of the charity’s main goals is to raise awareness about the difficulties that survivors of burn accidents face.

Brady Tupper is one of the survivors working with the Burn Fund and said that the organization has helped lots of people, including herself.

“It just created a community of people who share similar injuries and allows them to learn from one another,” said Tupper.

Tupper added that one of the hardest things to deal with following her accident was the psychological aspect.

“People don’t realize that inside of five minutes your entire identity changes,” said Tupper. “I spent 21 and a half years looking a certain way, and then inside of five minutes that all changed, and the next few years working to get back to that.”

New donation campaign makes it easier to give

New to the event this year is a text-to-donate campaign that allows visitors to donate money via text message. Visitors can also text their vote for the parade of trees contest which will see a number of sponsors decorating Christmas trees in themes varying from traditional to more eccentric.

Admission to Bright Nights is free, but donations are encouraged.  For more information on the event or the Burn Fund, visit their website at www.burnfund.org.

Reported by Clayton Paterson

The Voice presents a video preview of the event, and  interviews with Burn Fund director Ray Boucher and survivor Brady Tupper.

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