Love of animals leads to $900K estate donation to Okanagan shelter – Okanagan

A friendship struck years earlier between a Kelowna man and an abandoned dog has paved the way for a record-breaking donation that will change countless animal lives in the days to come.

Kelowna resident Paul Bilyk died in 2021, but his generous spirit, and lifelong love of animals, has ensured his legacy will carry on at the Kelowna branch of the BC SPCA.

On Wednesday, representatives from the local organization confirmed that Bilyk donated $910,764 to them. It’s one of the largest estate donations that the Kelowna branch has received in its 60-year history.

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“He had adopted a dog from the SPCA many years ago and had just loved the dog and it was a great companion to him,” said Bonnie Jarvis, a longtime friend of Bilyk.

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“He wanted the opportunity for other people to be able to adopt animals and get the joy that he did out of it.”

Jarvis explained that Bylik was a very quiet man who, once his mother died, had no family. He wasn’t rich, but the 56-year-old pensioner had accrued the wealth he passed on this week through his mother’s estate.

With this gift, Jarvis said he hoped his friend would get some satisfaction.

“I just hope that Paul’s resting in peace and I hope he watches and is happy that his wishes have come true,” she said.

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Karin Masser, the SPCA’s senior officer of giving, explained that when someone leaves money to the Kelowna SPCA, the funds go towards facility costs and caring for animals in the community.

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“But it can also help us to do some repairs and maintenance to our building,” Masser said.

“It also helps us with the funding for our animal protection officers, the children’s programs, the community outreach, as well as local children’s programs, summer camps and preschool programs.”

Masser said it was an extraordinary amount to receive.

“We are really lucky to get this size of will and estate,” she said, adding that it will make a “huge” impact.

Masser said caring for animals is an important part of life for many people in the community.

“And when they leave an estate donation,” said Masser, “it will certainly be impactful and it will help to provide the care that’s desperately needed for some of the animals in our community.”

Her hope is that the donation inspires others to think about their estate and what they will leave behind.

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