John Thor

John Thor has faced a number of challenges but always comes through with a smile on his face. He’s described by those who know him as “an inspiration to all.”

John Thor, a food bank client for almost 20 years, is one of the most positive people you will meet.

If his infectious smile doesn’t get you, his quick wit and charm surely will.

John, a senior on disability, was born in Kelowna but lived elsewhere for a time until he moved back in 1995. Within that period, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Strong willed and a hard worker, he maintained two demanding jobs — one in sales and the other as a business manager — for as long as he could.

In 2006, he had a deep brain stimulation device implanted to control tremors associated with Parkinson’s. In 2011, he received a pacemaker to further help with progressing symptoms.

Even through the challenges he faces, he continues his hard work and effort — both physically and mentally. He is a published writer and poet and a recognized athlete, receiving a Sports Hero award in 2011. Most days, you will find him conquering the stationary bike at Parkinson Recreation Centre. To date, he has pedalled more than 108,470 kilometres — nearly three times around the world.

To say he is an inspiration is an understatement.

Two things he looks forward to are getting “harassed” by Richard during his monthly visits to the food bank and the yearly birthday party that takes place near Christmas, organized by Claire and Keith Engel. This annual event at Parkinson Recreation Centre is attended by up to 40 people he has positively influenced, including former member of Parliament Ron Cannan.

John recognizes that the support he receives from the community, especially through the food bank, is essential to his quality of life. Requiring a diet of soft and easily digestible food, he acknowledges that contributions such as those made through the Be an Angel campaign allow the food bank to supply him with the special diet he needs.

You can Be an Angel four ways: drop by The Daily Courier office 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to donate cash or by cheque, debit or credit card; use your credit card to donate online at KelownaDailyCourier.ca (click on “Be an Angel” along the top); make a contribution at any Valley First Credit Union branch; or use your credit card over the phone by calling The Daily Courier at 250-470-0756.

All contributors will be recognized with their name in this newspaper, and all donors who give $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.

Be an Angel

The Daily Courier thanks the following individuals for their contributions to our Be an Angel campaign:

Dec. 3

— Reiner Mannhardt, $250

— In memory of Margaret Webb, $100

— In memory of Ronald A. Wells, $100

— Anonymous, $200

— Ben Verkerk, $100

— Anonymous, $100

— Mary Lou Edgar, $100

— Edward Jasiorkowski, $50

— William and Nanci Colbeck, $150

— Fred Molzahn, $100

— Lynn and Heather Bryngelson, $200

— Stan, $100

— Michael and Cherald Tutt, $200

— Norman McLeod, $200

— David Wall, $40

— Thomas Budd Foundation, $497.50

Daily total: $1,990

Campaign total: $6,768.75

Thomas Budd to date: $1,353.75