Qué Banh says she is a lucky person. At age four, she came to Victoria from Vietnam with her parents and two younger brothers.
“When I came here, I was super sick with polio. I went to Queen Alexandra Hospital for surgery and rehab … I got lucky I was not turned away because of my illness,” she said.
Her resilience carried her through recovery and continues to motivate her.
“I’ve been doing community work since I was seven,” said the 38 year old.
Her parents were open to her curiosity and allowed her to speak to people on the streets.
“I had my first dose of homelessness in the city … I talked to people. Asked questions that a precocious child would ask: ‘Why don’t you have a home? Are you hungry?’ My parents let me buy pork buns to give them,” she said.
Through her life she continued to give back in any way she could. “I’m huge on helping people. I wouldn’t be here if someone hadn’t helped me.”
Banh is continuing on her quest to help others by arranging a fundraising event for people in the Philippines affected by typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 5,000 dead and millions displaced.
The Typhoon Relief fundraiser at V-Lounge on Feb. 1 includes a unique combination of live bands and artists.
“I’m the type of person who is go-big-or-go-home because it takes a lot of work to organize something like this,” said Banh. “I want it to be entertaining for the audience so they can enjoy themselves as well as support a good cause.”
Performers include Oliver Swain, RADco, Shinerunner, James Kasper and the True Vine, Neil Trett, Sexweather, Common Anomalies, Gord Phillips and Megaton Python, among others.
There will also be a silent auction of donated items as well as art created during the event.
“I figured it would be interesting to have artists as well. I like having something extra,” said Banh. “I like music and I like art and combining them together, I thought it would be fun for people to see something created before their eyes.”
The event will be hosted by ShawTV’s David Lennam and local comedian and musician Jacqueline MacLaughlin. Tickets are available at Suits U, 942 Fort St. and Peterec’s Gym/Island MMA, 831 Fisgard St.