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

Antibody tests could be the next step in fighting COVID-19, Island doctor says

The blood test could show if a person is recovering or has recovered from the virus

Greater Victoria resident shares joy in horseshoe pitching competitions from home

Horseshoe Pitching Online offers everyone the chance to compete

Life mimics art for actors in play about pandemic

Performers from Oak Bay theatre school see parallels with recent play based on 1918 Spanish flu

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

Victoria business still busy as people turn to books while in self-isolation

Russell Books says certain genres have gained popularity during COVID-19

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read