Service to children and families award winner Lori Orr holds Henry Down

Service to children and families award winner Lori Orr holds Henry Down

Committed to helping families

Lori Orr wins the service to children and families award at the 2012 Hearts of the Community Awards on Feb. 16

Giving is not about money. It’s holding a door.Offering a smile.

This is Lori Orr’s philosophy.

“I believe in holding the door … look somebody in the eye and say hi. You could totally change somebody’s day,” she says.

Five happy babies are the highlight of her volunteering ways.

The recipient of the service to families and children award in the 2012 Hearts of the Community Awards, Orr is a fundraising maven.

In late 2008 Lisa Hardy and Tim Sorenson brought home the first quadruplets on Vancouver Island – twins Joseph and Samuel plus twins Jackson and Benjamin. Late in the pregnancy, Hardy was bed ridden and mid-move.

“I went and walked the dog and helped move her furniture … made sure things were in preparation so she wouldn’t worry,” Orr said. “It just carried on.”

Hardy remembers being in a Vancouver hospital and looking forward to Orr’s phone calls.

“On one of these particular calls Lori informed me that she was organizing a fundraiser for our family,” Hardy said. “She realized having to quadruple our expenses on everything from diapers to formula would be an extraordinary amount, thus the Quad Squad was born.”

The dance that followed in the spring raised more than $10,000 for the Brentwood Bay family.

Last summer, toddler Henry Down was diagnosed with cancer. The family was forced to stay in Vancouver for long spells for treatment.

“We were rescued,” the Down family said in nominating Orr for a Hearts award. “Often times disease, financial crisis, overwhelming emotion, fear and loneliness through times like this can rip apart young families. … During our times of despair, our times of grief and our times of feeling lost, Lori’s positive attitude, her constant humour and non-chalantness towards how she simply knew Henry was going to be OK was a crutch for us.”

Again Orr pounced into action with her “you never know until you ask” motto and organized a community fundraiser at the Prairie Inn that raised $18,000 to help keep the family together. It also highlighted the cause and paved the way for other community events.

“It’s so rewarding when the community comes together and they care,” Orr said. “That’s the most overwhelming feeling. It’s brought me to tears a few times when people stand up and give back.”

A bookkeeper at Island Tax in Brentwood, she has no problems selling the famous Orr hot dog or pushing poinsettias to fundraise for Stelly’s grads the last couple years to round out her youthful investments.