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

Richard Pierce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Langford council approved the 2021 budget request of $5,268,635 from the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society Tuesday night. Of the proposed budget, Langford was asked to contribute an increased amount of $158, 651, as the municipality’s growth rate was higher than other municipal partners on the West Shore. (Black Press Media file)
Langford approves $2.8M for West Shore Parks and Recreation

Unanimous budget approval required by all West Shore partner municipalities

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

19-year-old man in police custody after incident where woman was putting things in her car

Most Read