Don’t miss the chance to shop, sip and mingle at the upcoming Ladies Night Out Mixer, with partial proceeds to benefit the Choboter family. (Photo from Facebook)

Ladies Night Out Mixer offers chance to sip, shop and help a Penticton family

The event takes place on Nov. 9 at the Elks Lodge to benefit the Choboter’s

Women in Penticton are getting the opportunity to have a night on the town where they sip, shop and help a local family.

Ashley Weninger is the organizer behind the Ladies Night Out Mixer on Nov. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 343 Ellis St. The event features local artisans and vendors showcasing their merchandise, and tickets include a goodie bag and glass of wine for attendees, as well as entry into the grand prize draw. The event also has a cash bar and ATM on-site.

“The purpose of this event is to allow women in our community to discover local businesses they may not have known about, promote community business and allow businesses and vendors to mix, mingle and network with other locals,” said Weninger.

Partial proceeds from the evening will be directed to Penticton’s Choboter family, who are fundraising to cover the costs of providing their youngest child, Ashton, a left cochlear implant. According to a write up by his mother, Cori McCormick, Ashton was born completely deaf on his left side and this device, which he had surgically implanted in February 2019 in Toronto, was the only option to allow the toddler to hear on that side.

“We were surprised to hear (he was deaf in his left ear) when he was just one month old. The audiologist did many different tests with him to confirm the complete hearing loss on that side. There is no hearing aid powerful enough to compensate for this level of deafness,” writes McCormick. “This specialist referred us to an ear, nose and throat surgeon at B.C. Children’s Hospital, who completed an MRI for Ashton and confirmed that his deafness is unexplained – meaning, of course, that there is no obvious reason for it.

“He also let us know that he could not perform a cochlear implant on Ashton because though he is completely deaf on the left side, he is not on the right, and the only surgeon in Canada who can offer a cochlear implant on children for this particular type and level of deafness is in Toronto at Sick Kids.”

READ MORE: Record-breaking $140,000 raised for Special Olympics at Okanagan fundraiser

Though the family had some extended health insurance through their employer, they were still facing a bill of $16,000 for the cochlear implant, not including the costs associated with travelling cross-country for the surgery and follow-up visits. Cori wrote that Elks and Royal Purple of Canada generously donated $7,000 to their cause, while various other community groups helped contribute another $2,000, but when the surgery was over with they were still facing an end-cost of $30,000.

The family is no stranger to hardship, with Cori’s three children losing their father, Darren Leadbeater, who was found shot to death in a Penticton hotel in 2015. Shortly before his death, McCormick, then 8.5 months pregnant with her son Parker, was in a motor vehicle accident when she was rear-ended at a crosswalk. This meant overcoming the grief of losing Leadbeater and the physical toll of the accident all at once.

Still, the family has shown strength and resilience through all of this, and the hardship of giving Ashton the gift of hearing fully, and are grateful for the support the community has shown them.

“We greatly appreciate all of the help that we have received from the community so far and ongoing,” wrote McCormick. “It has made such a difference in our lives in allowing Ashton to flourish with his ‘new ear.’”

Tickets for the ladies’ night are available in advance for $15 each at Elk’s Lodge, by calling Lifted at 250-493-5928, by calling Lisa Borba Hair Studio at 778-476-4011 or by calling Hair by Ashley at 250-488-2617. More information about the event can be found on the Facebook page, and those wishing to donate to the Choboters can visit their GoFundMe profile.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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