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 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’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 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 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

(Photo submitted)
MISSING: Alexis Creek RCMP request help in finding Randolph Quilt, 59

Quilt hasn’t been heard from by family since Sept. 26, last seen in Williams Lake

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson (right) with his partner Shelley Wiese participated in an BC Liberals Caucus virtual oath ceremony Friday, Nov. 27. Doerkson was appointed opposition critic of rural development by interim leader Shirley Bond. (Photo submitted)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA appointed rural development opposition critic

Newly-elected Lorne Doerkson said it will be an honour to work for all rural consituents

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10 (file photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Acwsalcta School in Bella Coola

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, and 26th Nov. 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10.

Yunesit'in Chief Lennon Solomon signs a memorandum of understanding with COS Insp. Len Butler. The five-year agreement was signed outside the Tsilhqot'in National Government in downtown Williams Lake on Nov. 30. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in Government, Conservation Officer Service team up to address illegal moose hunting

Protection of moose a key focus of recently signed memorandum of understanding

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Interior Health said its new toll-free line will help people connect to health-care services. (File)
Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

By calling1-800-707-8550, people can be connected to several health-care services

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read