About three years ago, Morgan Hellyer recognized that she needed some extra support. After being diagnosed with Wet Macular Degeneration, an eye disorder that causes impaired vision, Morgan required regular medical treatment from a retina specialist.
In her early 80s at the time, and living alone, Morgan understood the complexity of her situation. She would need to get from Squamish to her specialist’s office in North Vancouver for treatment as often as once a month.
That’s when Sarah Kleban stepped in. A volunteer with the Sea to Sky Better at Home program, Sarah signed up to drive Morgan to her appointment.
“Morgan was one of my first ‘drives,’” Sarah says, as she recalls the strong bond that was created almost immediately. Since then, she has driven Morgan more times than she can easily count.
“I feel fortunate that we have developed a relationship that goes beyond driving,” Sarah explains. “I like checking in on Morgan and talking with her.”
And the feeling is mutual. “I so enjoy Sarah!” Morgan says. “Losing your sight is hard, and Sarah is with me every step of the way,” Morgan adds.
Transportation to medical appointments is just one of Sea to Sky Better at Home’s services designed to help seniors maintain independence and connection. The program also includes light housekeeping, yard work (including snow shovelling), grocery shopping, friendly visits and minor home repairs.
Sarah, who has a background working with seniors, said she was motivated to start volunteering after her youngest children started school. “It’s a really important service and it seemed like a good fit,” she explains. The flexible hours meant she could schedule drives during times that worked for her family.
Our gratitude to Sarah — one of approximately 30 volunteers — who are instrumental in our effort to support seniors across the Sea to Sky Corridor.
The arrival of the pandemic brought with it an outpouring of support for this we are most grateful. But as the pandemic progresses, more stamina and creativity are required to keep going, build back and diversify our programs and services. This holiday season, we ask you to continue to make a difference at a time when the impacts of poverty and anxiety are felt strongly by many.
If you haven’t donated already, please consider making a donation before midnight to receive a 2021 tax receipt.