Michael is a Variety Kid, His Mom Shares Their Story

Meet Michael and his Mom, Catherine

Michael is a cheerful, friendly three-year-old with a love of books, the water, and walks in the woods. He was diagnosed with global developmental delays at age one and has worked hard with multiple therapists since. We were thrilled when he started walking a little before his second birthday – now he loves hiking!

Our family of three moved to North Vancouver from Seattle in 2017. All of our extended family are on the east coast of the U.S., and our friends are scattered throughout the U.S. as well. We’ve been so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received here, but we are still building our community.

I found Variety by searching online as we were navigating the various services for Michael when it became clear that we would need to pay for speech therapy ourselves for a short period.
The process for applying for funding was so easy, I was amazed! I completed an application and wrote a letter, and we got a notice that we were approved. (Note: it’s possible I’ve forgotten some of the steps in the process, but I remember it being very streamlined.) With everything we were dealing with – an international move, a new home, a new job, navigating a new country – having one thing be easy was a godsend.

When our application was approved, I was so happy and relieved! We had some coverage from my work insurance, but it would only take care of a couple of months of Michael’s speech therapy. We weren’t sure how we would pay for regular speech therapy on our own, and we wanted our son to have the best chance he could.

Making Progress

Michael’s progress in therapy has been ENORMOUS. He went from having no words at all to talking in full sentences within six months. The difference the therapy has mad is thrilling! Just hearing “mama” for the first time was so special. He knows all his letters and numbers and loves to point them out when we’re out and about. (Well, these days he likes to point out everything he sees – stop signs, birds, helicopters, cars – there’s always a running commentary!) Michael can tell us what he wants and how he’s feeling. We’re starting to hear about preschool and what happened in his day.

Initially, we weren’t sure if he would be ready to start preschool with his speech delays. But Michael has done so well that we had no qualms about sending him off on his first day this September – and he loves it!

To everyone who gives to Variety, your gift makes a real difference in the lives of children and their families! We are so grateful for the help and support we received, and I hope in the future we can give back somehow.

-Catherine, Michael’s Mom

For more information or to support Variety, visit our financials page, get involved with us or donate today! You can also watch stories about how we help on our YouTube channel.
Have a story you want to share? We’d love to hear from you, email Shannon today!

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Variety Week is Back!

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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