Family of B.C. woman who died of COVID-19 makes plea for people to stay home

Sandra Cairns enjoys a lunch out with her son, Rob. (Submitted photo)
Sandra’s daughter-in-law, Anita, snuck a little bit of eggnog into the nursing home as a Christmas treat. (Submitted photo)
Sandra Cairns and her three sons feed the ducks at the Edmonton Zoo. (Submitted photo)
Sandra Cairns with B.C. Lions great, Willie Fleming. The CFL star is holding the Bobby Bourne Memorial Trophy, which was named after her father. (Submitted photo)

Sandra Cairns would have turned 81 on May 11.

The former resident of the Lynn Valley Care Centre succumbed to COVID-19 on Friday morning (March 19) at 10 a.m.

She passed away without her family present.

“The fact that we weren’t able to hold her hand at the last minute was very sad,” her daughter-in-law said.

Anita Coueffin-Cairns, who lives in Maple Ridge has a message for everyone amid this virus outbreak.

“Sandra wasn’t young by any means, but to have her taken like this was quite shocking to us.”

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 cases jump by another 77, another care home affected

Described as having a strong will and a sharp wit, Cairns was born in New Westminster, and lived in West and North Vancouver.

She was a registered nurse at the East Vancouver police station for 25 years.

Anita, said her mother-in-law was deputized as a civilian officer by the Vancouver Police Department, so the female inmates – who she treated – could not get away with attacking her.

Cairns would have been on the front lines of this crisis when younger, Anita said.

ALSO READ: Mission man with COVID-19 symptoms forced to call 811 more than 100 times

“Oh, she would have been in Downtown East Side. She would have been in the zone down there, trying to help people.”

As a police nurse, Anita said, Cairns received many commendations for her work, including ones for devising protocols for safe needles and helping female inmates.

“When I first met her, I was intimidated by her,” Anita confessed. “And I don’t intimidate easily.”

Over the years Cairns softened towards her daughter-in-law, filling her in on the stories that made up a fascinating life.

Cairn’s father was former BC Lions director Bobby Bourne, the namesake for the Bobby Bourne Memorial Trophy awarded to the CFL team’s most popular player each year.

Her husband, who passed away many years ago, graduated from Harvard and moved the family to Spain while Cairns was still pregnant with her son, Rob (Anita’s husband).

Cairns taught herself Spanish, so she would be able to communicate to the doctors while she was giving birth.

“She was a force to be reckoned with,” Anita said of her mentor.

Mother’s Day was always a special holiday for the family, as it fell right around Cairns’ birthday.

“We’d go to the home and bring her flowers,” Anita recounted, adding they would also bring Reese Peanut Butter Cups, which were Cairns’ favourite.

Cairn’s loved ones have a simple message for anyone reading this.

“If we can tell you anything; for Sandra’s sake, stay home for a couple weeks. It won’t kill you.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Search and Rescue B.C. urge caution during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Search and Rescue Association and Emergency Management B.C. issued a statement… Continue reading

Cranbrook Bucks add two more players to growing roster

A forward and a goaltender have committed to the newest BCHL franchise for next season

EKASS still providing help to those dealing with substance use amid COVID-19

With COVID-19 dominating headlines it can be easy to forget about other… Continue reading

Veterinary clinics considered essential services, continue to help animals

The B.C. government recently released an official list of businesses that are… Continue reading

Travelling couple in self-isolation in Cranbrook grateful for friends’ support

Bob and Wanda Diachuk got back from Mexico and are in quarantine in Mt. Baker RV park

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Trudeau promises $82B in economic supports in COVID-19 fight

The money will come through a combination of direct supports for workers and businesses and tax deferrals

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Hospitality workers hit ‘first and hit hardest,’ says union seeking more support

Union represents workers in hotels, casinos, airports, arenas, universities, schools and remote resource camps

Most Read