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

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

Vehicle incident causes Hwy 6 closure and power outages in Slocan Valley

A Thursday afternoon incident has closed the main highway in the Slocan Valley

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read