One-year-old baby Aryan Singh Deol with his father Gaganpreet Singh Deol and mother Harpreet Kaur Deol outside the family’s home in Newton in August. Aryan, who has a rare genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), will get the treatment he needs thanks to the $2.8 million collected during an online fundraising effort during the spring and summer months. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

One-year-old baby Aryan Singh Deol with his father Gaganpreet Singh Deol and mother Harpreet Kaur Deol outside the family’s home in Newton in August. Aryan, who has a rare genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), will get the treatment he needs thanks to the $2.8 million collected during an online fundraising effort during the spring and summer months. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Despite the pandemic, it wasn’t all sad stories in Surrey

Here is some of Surrey’s most heartwarming news

In a year full of COVID-19, and seemingly bad news, there were still a few bright spots.

Early on in the pandemic a couple of Surrey teens created an initiative to connect seniors and teens in the Lower Mainland.

Classmates Tina Yong and Jasmine Chahal created “Quaranteens” and began recruiting students to write to seniors isolated in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic in May.

By June, a Whalley church was about to hit a milestone.

City Centre Church expected to bag its 10,000th lunch for people in need since starting on April 1.

Then in August, a Surrey family learned that an online fundraiser had collected the millions needed for medical treatment to help their son, Aryan Singh Deol, live a normal life.

Aryan’s parents, father Gaganpreet and mother Harpreet, said it had been a seven-month struggle for the family since their son was diagnosed with a type of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disease that affects the central nervous system and voluntary muscle movement.

In March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, friends and family rallied around the Deols to launch a GoFundMe campaign that aimed to raise a whopping $2.8 million to pay for a treatment called Zolgensma. The goal was reached the day after Aryan’s first birthday.

In September, Surrey resident Ken Smith celebrated a very different birthday – his 100th.

The Second World War veteran now lives at Fleetwood Villa, where balloon-festooned vehicles paraded and bagpipes played as the happy birthday boy sat on a bench outside the retirement home and waved to family and friends.

As Halloween rolled around, and many events were cancelled, City Dream Centre volunteers planned to set up pumpkin patches in the fields of four of Surrey’s inner-city schools.

The pumpkins were placed in the early morning, and classes took turns visiting their very own pumpkin patch in the afternoon, with COVID-19 precautions in place.

And while we know about the bad side of Facebook, which can be a pit of political put-downs and shadowy behaviour, but the social-media hub can also do some good.

For example, consider the recent food drive organized on Surrey Community Corner, a private group of 2,300 Facebook-ers. “We ended up collecting 2,734 items in six weeks,” said drive organizer Manav Bhardwaj.

The last of the donations were dropped off at Surrey Food Bank’s Newton warehouse on Nov. 2.

Meantime, a group of men at Phoenix Society having been knitting toques for other women in recovery, the homeless and babies.

Nelson Mendonca learned how to knit toques while in jail, and when he arrived at Phoenix about four months ago, he took up knitting once again to keep his mind busy. From there, he taught other men in recovery how to knit.

The group has now made more than 200 toques and raised thousands to continue making them.

CoronavirusSurreyYear in Review

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dyllan Petrin is charged related to an ongoing investigation in Surrey involving a kidnapping and assault that occurred in July, 2019. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Man arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder investigations: Surrey RCMP

Police say Dyllan Petrin was arrested in Vancouver

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
Snow forecasted for parts of Lower Mainland this weekend

Environment Canada is predicting flurries and snow from Saturday to Monday evening

Most Read