Entertainment industry veteran Howard Blank among honourees at Variety BC Red Heart Awards Celebration

Some recognizable faces were on hand on December 5th, as Variety – the Children’s Charity hosted their 48th annual Red Heart Awards Celebration, recognizing individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in supporting the charity and children with special needs in BC.

In total, fifteen recipients were honoured in eleven award categories, including the Barbara Stewart Heart Award for an outstanding individual who over the years has devoted his or her time to making a truly exceptional impact. This year’s Barbara Stewart honouree was Howard Blank, a prominent figure in the entertainment, gaming, and philanthropic sectors, whose extensive involvement in Variety BC goes back to when he was just thirteen years old. Other recognizable award recipients included singer and TV personality Mary Zilba; Victory Square Technologies founder and CEO Shafin Diamond Tejani; and the City of Prince George, which won “Community with a Heart.”

The event, held at the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre, was emceed by Global BC on-air personality Jennifer Palma.

In addition to the award presentations, other highlights of the night included musical performances by twelve year old singing sensation Ty Waters, and local country artist Todd Richard, whose single “Follow Your Heart” is available on iTunes with all proceeds going to support Variety BC. The song, which has become a sort of unofficial anthem for the charity, earned Richard the Colleen Wood Fundraising Award.

“Once again our community of supporters, donors, volunteers and friends has made us exceptionally proud over the past year,” said Variety BC Chief Executive Officer, Cally Wesson. “The Red Heart Awards are always a big night on our event calendar, and the single greatest opportunity for us to really acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful people who work so hard to make sure families all across BC know that we’re there standing with them. As always, this year we had an almost impossibly strong field of truly deserving recipients in each award category, not to mention everyone who came out tonight just to support their peers.”

Full list of 2017 Red Heart Award recipients:

Barbara Stewart Heart Award

  • Howard Blank
Barker of the Year

  • Atanu Dalal
Art Jones Pioneer Award

  • Arlene MacDonald
Corporate Hero Award

  • Shafin Tejani, Victory Square Technologies
Hey Rube Award

  • Niels Jensen
  • Lesley Walker
  • Elizabeth Nagy
Colleen Wood Fundraising Award

  • 501st Legion Outer Rim Garrison
  • Todd Richard
Angel Award

  • Mary Zilba
Youth Award

  • Amanda Chiu
Community with a Heart

  • City of Prince George
Family Ambassador Award

  • The Wilson-Chin family
Telethon Award

  • Access Computer Rentals
  • Jim Ross

Gold Heart Gala 2017 Raises $550,000 for Variety BC Kids!


Dear Variety Family,

During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global situation, our highest priority is the health, safety and well-being of our Variety donors, families, members, supporters, volunteers and all British Columbians.

Variety BC has been here for more than 50 years ensuring kids with special needs thrive. I would like to assure you that during this uncertain time, we will continue to be here for BC’s kids with special needs.

I also would like to provide you with an update on our response to date and our commitment to you moving forward:

  • In keeping with the BC Centre for Disease Control’s recommendations, we will be postponing all Variety events between March 16th and April 30th including our One Night in the Valley Gala on Saturday, April 4th at the Glass House Estate Winery
  • We have closed the Variety Office as a precautionary measure and are having employees set up to work-from-home. All in-person meetings will be moved to teleconference. We will evaluate working “virtually” on a week-to-week basis while actively monitoring the evolution of this global pandemic and returning to regular operating procedures once health authorities deem it safe for our staff to do so.
  • Due to our office closure, we have postponed the shipping of Robert Bateman’s Woodworkers – Pilated Woodpeckers posters and our Variety water bottles. Anyone looking for tax receipts will receive them via email
  • With the closure of BC’s schools, the need to ensure our kids are supported has never been so great. As such, our Heart of Variety Fund will continue to accept grant accept applications by e-mail.
    Like all of you, we will monitor the COVID-19 situation and communicate with you on important health and safety measures and decisions regarding events regularly.

We encourage you to stay informed by visiting BC Centre for Disease Control’s website at www.bccdc.ca and the Government of Canada’s website at www.canada.ca/en/publichealth/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

We are grateful for your support as we navigate through this uncertain time.

Thank you,

Cally Wesson
CEO – Variety BC