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Tsawout family fundraising for long-term housing for community advocate

All are welcome at May 19 seafood feast, art auction fundraiser
All are welcome at a seafood feast and art auction fundraiser being hosted May 19 at the Tsawout gymnasium. Funds from the event will go to help purchase a new mobile home for Daphne Harry. (Courtesy Karen Harry)

A longtime advocate for others is in need of a little help of her own and the community on the Saanich Peninsula is banding together in an effort to make sure she gets it.

Daphne Harry is a 56-year-old member of the Tsawout First Nation. As the former health receptionist at the Tsawout Health program and now an independent advocate for HIV prevention and intervention, she is well known in the community.

Known as ‘Daff’ to her friends and family, she was diagnosed with HIV in 1998.

“In 1998 the disease was very new to our communities and there is always the fear of how community members and family would feel about her diagnosis,” her sisters wrote in a statement.

“Putting that all aside our family pulled together and agreed we would work together to assure our sister is fully supported with her life choices. Daff’s lifelong dream of having her own children changed when she was diagnosed, so she accepted and adopted her nieces, nephews, and relatives as her own.”

A third-generation survivor of residential and day schools, Daff lives in a 12-foot camper trailer in the Tsawout community.

This is her comfort zone and a place she can call her own as she manages the disease.

It’s also been home to many one-on-one conversations with youth who are struggling and a safe place for anyone fleeing violence.

This past winter, Daff’s family started having concerns about the improvements needed to her home.

“She deserves comfort, warmth, and adequate cooking space. As much as we invite her into our homes we know our sister finds comfort in her own space. Living this long with HIV, we know the daily medicine regimes are taking a toll on her health.”

With no available housing or affordable rentals, the family looked to alternative options and found a park model trailer for her. But they have until June 15 to pay $55,000 to complete the purchase.

The family is hoping the community will come together for a traditional seafood feast, Coast Salish art auction and loonie/toonie fundraiser taking place May 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Everyone is welcome at the event, taking place at the Tsawout gymnasium, 7728 Tetayut Rd.

Lots of prizes, great food and good company are on the agenda for the evening and the cost is $20 per plate.

For those who cannot attend, donations can be made via etransfer to

ALSO READ: ‘It’s all for the kids’: North Saanich PAC hopes community support will help make up budget shortfalls


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