Hospice Calgary nominated Sandra Fewings for the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award to honour her for her courage, commitment and compassion in providing for her family and partner for almost two decades now.
Sandra first came to Hospice Calgary seeking support for herself and her family when her father died in 2001 and following the diagnosis of her partner’s brain tumour. As a family, they moved through their grief journey and, as often happens when there is a significant loss, their relationships were impacted. Illness and caregiving have been a part of their story for many years.
Sandra found herself in the role of caregiver to a young man who was previously healthy, led cycling tours and loved to run. His diagnosis and slowly deteriorating condition has impacted their family in ways that have been very challenging for everyone. For the past fourteen years, Sandra has been employed full time, raised their children, and cared for her partner at home as they have struggled to cope with the many losses in their lives. Brain cancer can have devastating effects on a person’s physical, emotional and cognitive function which in turn has impacted the whole family. As the sole working parent outside the home and a full time caregiver at home, Sandra is committed to a 24/7 caregiving role.
Despite all the conflicting needs to provide financially while caring for three dependents, Sandra has also committed to ensuring that her partner has been able to be as independent at home as possible. She has sourced activities for him outside the home and encouraged him to stay connected. However, he has shown that as a once-active, young, working man, his need to contribute as a father and partner in the home in whatever ways he can, has been a primary path to maintaining dignity. The losses and changes continue to be dramatic. In order to maintain his sense of dignity and to relieve his suffering, Sandra has made many sacrifices. She has persevered in what has been a daily challenge of ensuring he has a sense of purpose and meaning in his life, knowing that this is necessary for him to die surrounded by his family.
AHPCA is honoured to present Sandra Fewings with the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award for 2017.