Supporter Profile: Mike Starchuk
It has been a very busy year. As most of you know I am an advocate for seniors and always working towards enlightening everyone on what is going on in our senior community. As the year ends I reflect on all the Volunteers that work so hard in adding to a senior’s day.
There is a great opportunity here for anyone who has a few hours to give each week. There is a need for walks, talks, reminiscing, movies, tea time, taking seniors to afternoon entertainers to art, music. There is also the behind the scenes that can use help, preparing for special events like barbeques, cooking groups, and the list goes on.
Then there are those who just see you need help and just step up to the plate. They are just there when you need them, offering their ideas, giving of their time and just make everything work.
One such person within our community is Mike Starchuk. Mike was raised and educated in the Newton area and has spent the past 50 years watching Surrey’s landscape develop from a vast municipality to the dynamic city that it is today.
At the end of July 2014, Mike retired from his position as Chief Fire Prevention Officer with the Surrey Fire Services. Mike’s 32 years of service as a first responder, firefighter and public safety figure have provided him with a first-hand knowledge and a unique perspective of the growth of the city and those who reside here.
During his time with the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Association, Mike has been active with health and safety initiatives in the city and across the province. He is also one of the founding members of the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, which is one of the leading charities in Surrey. Mike continues his work with the BC firefighters as a WCB advocate who fights on behalf of those who need assistance with their claims.
Mike was recognized by his peers and awarded the Red Powell Award -given by the Surrey Firefighters to a member who has been with the fire department for 20 years or more, and serves both the community, and the department.
In 2013, because of his work with and dedication to the City of Surrey, Mike was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
In 2014, Mike was honored to be elected as a Surrey City Councillor. He enjoyed the opportunity to work hard, on behalf of his community, and make changes and proudly represent the people of Surrey, whether in his office, out in the communities and neighborhoods, or representing the City of Surrey in other municipalities.
As a City Councillor, Mike Chaired the Agricultural and Food Security Advisory Committee, the Environmentally Sustainable Advisory Committee, the Diversity Advisory Committee and Co-chaired the Seniors Accessibility Advisory Committee. Those relationships that were created during that time as a Councillor continue today and Mike continues to advocate for improvements in the areas of agriculture, the environment, and our seniors.
2019 Mike got even more involved within his community as he joined forces with the Lark Angels Foundation adding in 2019 we hope to have the first Sensory Simulation room open to the public here in Surrey BC and I am pleased to say much dedication, education and support from within the Health Care industry has moved us forward in our goal.
As a person who has first-hand experience with the challenges of a parent with dementia, I am pleased to assist this organization as they take the next steps to create their first sensory stimulation room in Surrey. Visit their web page at: www.larkangelsfoundation.org
The Lark Angels Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to the lives of our senior population, especially those suffering with Dementia, a brain disorder affecting their thinking, behavior and ability to perform everyday tasks.
Dementia can happen to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your neighbor, your friend… it can happen to you.
The Lark Angels Foundation goal is to build Sensory Stimulation rooms, designed to reach and open minds to the five senses – sound, smell, touch, sight and taste. These rooms have proven to be beneficial to seniors with dementia, when no other suitable situations are provided. If people living with dementia have nothing to do, they might become increasingly isolated, frustrated, bored and unhappy. A sad, but true, scenario is watching them sit hour by hour staring into space while their brain, like a puzzle, loses one piece at a time.
Dementia can cause memory loss, loss of vocabulary, change of moods, faulty reasoning, and disorientation, to name a few symptoms. It is recognized that sensory deprivation and lack of appropriate activity has a devastating impact on a person’s well-being and health. Older people in particular, who are limited in their physical and cognitive abilities, need to be offered, and helped to engage in, activity that provides multi-sensory stimulation as they may not be able to access this kind of stimulation on their own.
Everyone needs sensory stimulation in order to comprehend the world around them. The only way we can get information into our brains is through our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement.
With the help of Associated Health Systems, the first multi-sensory stimulation room is to be built later this year, will be open to the public and Lark Angels Foundation will rely on donations to support these rooms.
Mike recently became a spokesperson for the Lark Angels Foundation while he MC the annual Fundraiser at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel, raising money and support for our future Multi-Sensory Room. Under the direction of Janet Isherwood, Director of Lark Angels Foundation the Black Tie Event in 2019 had outgrown Laurel Place and moved their yearly fundraiser to the Sheraton Guilford a much larger venue.
A special “Thank You” Mike for your dedication, help and support to the Lark Angels Foundation. You are a leader and we could not have done it with out you.