The Fire Victims in California, How Can I Help? // By Tanya Edwards, RTR Pilates Instructor

Paradise after the fireThe Washington Post (Noah Berger/AP)

The fires in California have devastated entire communities and left thousands of people without homes, without jobs and stranded in the midst of a temporary housing crisis. If you are feeling compelled to help but don’t know where to start, here are a few links you can follow to give help (via financial donations) directly to those that need it most:


I’m initiating this relief effort because my immediate family is directly affected by the fires.

My brother, David (I call him DJ), and sister-in-law, Patty, moved to Paradise in the mid 90’s as newlyweds with their first baby on the way. I can remember teasing him when I came up for my first visit, “Being a newlywed and soon-to-be dad wasn’t enough, you had to move to Paradise too?” He just smiled and laughed. The town of Paradise truly lived up to its name, nestled in Pine Trees and high above the town of Chico with the aptly named “Skyway Drive” as the main road in and out (or up and down, because it’s 1,778 feet above sea level). They spent their first few months living in one of their friends’ family vacation home and eventually moved down to Chico because even though rent is cheap, jobs are hard to come by in Paradise. Commuting up and down Skyway on a daily basis is expensive. My nephew, Aric, was born early that next year at Feather River Hospital in Paradise. I’ll never forget the tiny little onesie they gifted him at the birthing center when he was being discharged… it said, “I was born in Paradise”. Eighteen months later, my niece, Dominique (we call her Nini), was born and another onesie was added to the memory box. The family was complete and DJ was working hard to build his career and hopefully buy a house, always with the thought of Paradise as the goal of where they wanted to settle down and own a home. Their dream was finally realized in 2000 and they bought their first home up Skyway Drive, in Magalia… the town directly above Paradise. It was great to see them so happy and settled! Aric and Nini attended school in Paradise and the family thrived up on the mountain, living the ‘American Dream’.

Nini Graduation

Nini's Graduation

Unfortunately, not all stories have their picture perfect happy ending. My brother passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly five years ago in 2013, just a few months shy of Aric’s graduation from Paradise High School and one week before Nini was to attend Prom. Our entire family was sent reeling with the loss, Patty and the kids world came to a stand still.  The last five years have been quite a trial with many ups and downs but they managed to get back on their feet to establish a new kind of normal. And then the fire came raging through two weeks ago.

Patty, Aric and Nini are all currently evacuated from their home. They are in a bizarre state of limbo at the moment. As far as we know, thankfully, their house is still standing. We are equally grateful that they made it out safely and have a family friend to stay with in Chico while they wait for further news on the house in Magalia. They all worked in Paradise and unfortunately, their places of employment are among the hundreds of businesses that burnt down. It was surreal to hear their stories of evacuation. Tales of raging fires on both sides of the road, traffic and anxiety building as they drove through the flames. I broke down and cried when I saw the videos on Facebook of other evacuees driving the same roads my family was on. It looked absolutely terrifying!

Tanya 2_copy

Tanya's Family: Nini, Tanya, Tanya's Husband, Aric, Tanya's Son

As horrible as this ordeal might sound, in reality, my family is on the more fortunate side of the thousands of evacuees.  Tens of thousands of people lost their homes AND jobs and are currently displaced… living in shelters, Walmart parking lots or staying temporarily with friends. Its overwhelming to imagine what they are going through and what the road to rebuilding and recovery will entail. Instead of worrying and wondering, I decided to turn my energies toward a positive plan of action.

Let’s DO something productive and help out where it’s needed most!

I’m pleased to announce that RTR Pilates has graciously offered the use of the studios time, energy and resources to hold a fundraiser for the victims of the fires in California. Details are listed below.  

My hope is that in this holiday season we can let the victims of this fire know they are not alone.

Thank you, Tanya.

Details from RTR Pilates on HOW TO HELP:

Three ways to help:

  1. 1. ) Attend Tanya’s California Fire Fundraiser Classes on Saturday, December 1st, 2:15, 3:15 PM. 
  2. 2.) Bring in Gift Cards to any RTR Pilates location to places like CVS, Walmart, VISA from now until December 15th.
  3. 3.) Donate to one of the following: North Valley Community Foundation, California Community Foundation Wildlife Relief Fund, Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund.

On Saturday, December 1, 2018 Tanya will be teaching classes to benefit the victims of the California fires, specifically those affect in and around Paradise, California.  The classes are free to sign-up with donations in the form of check or cash or gift card accepted at the time of the class.

Please make donation checks out to any one of the foundations listed above. Click HERE to sign up for Tanya's class! Space is limited, pre-registration is encouraged.

If you cannot make the classes and feel compelled to donate, RTR Pilates will be collecting gift cards at all locations until December 15, 2018. Gift cards of $25 or more from places like: Walmart, CVS, VISA, AMEX, Costco.

Thank you in advance for all of your support!


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