Bay Roberts woman gone but not for­got­ten

Lo­cal blood donor clin­ics held in mem­ory of Sarah Turpin

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

Over the past few weeks, the name Sarah Turpin has been spo­ken across the prov­ince in con­nec­tion to blood do­na­tion.

At 32 years old, Sarah, who died after a brief ill­ness on Fri­day, Oct. 3, was a wife and the mother of three young chil­dren — a daugh­ter and twin sons.

What many don’t know about the Car­bon­ear Academy teacher is that she was known for her witty sense of hu­mor and abil­ity to con­nect with her stu­dents.

“Sarah was al­ways laugh­ing and telling jokes, and was not afraid to show her stu­dents her silly side,” ex­plained fel­low teacher Wanda Lee Roach, who is help­ing to or­ga­nize lo­cal blood donor clin­ics in her hon­our. “She was known to rap to kids for their birthdays, and have se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tions about zom­bies.

“Though she was only 32, she had a vast amount of knowl­edge on many sub­ject ar­eas and she en­joyed shar­ing this knowl­edge with her stu­dents and col­leagues.”

This charis­matic Bay Roberts woman was more than just a teacher, she be­came a friend to those she en­coun­tered. Sarah also liked to per­form, help­ing the stu­dents with drama ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the year.

“Her goal this year was to win the drama fes­ti­val by writ­ing an orig­i­nal play for the stu­dents to per­form,” Roach said. “She may have en­joyed the stage as a per­former, but she en­joyed it just as much a di­rec­tor.”

Be­cause her ill­ness was quick, it was sur­pris­ing to ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially her fam­ily, stu­dents and col­leagues.

“It was a shock to all and it is still surreal,” Roach added. “I walk through the halls every­day ex­pect­ing to see her com­ing to­wards me, as I am sure many other peo­ple do as well.”

“I walk through the halls every­day ex­pect­ing to see her com­ing to­wards me.”

— Wanda Lee Roach

Big im­pact

To Sarah, her fam­ily was her pri­or­ity.

“Any­one who knew Sarah knew about her kids, their names and many sto­ries as they, along with her hus­band, were the cen­ter of her life,” Wanda Lee ex­plained. “She called her old­est daugh­ter (Rowan) her heart and her twin boys (El­lis and Grant) her lungs. They were the life and breath of her.”

Her school fam­ily was also im­por­tant to her.

On Satur­day, Oct. 4, the day after her death, many stu­dents and teach­ers went to Car­bon­ear Academy.

There were grief coun­cil­lors on hand for any­one who needed to talk. It gave them a safe place to open up about their feel­ings to oth­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same loss.

A school assem­bly to open Ed­u­ca­tion Week — Premier Paul Davis was sched­uled to at­tend — was can­celled be­cause of her death. The stu­dents were sup­posed to wear red, be­cause it was the school’s colour.

When classes were back in ses­sion Oct. 6, a sea of red flooded the hall­ways any­way, in mem­ory of Sarah. Through so­cial me­dia and phone calls, stu­dent and teach­ers were told to wear red any­way. And they did.

The Com­pass has de­cided to leave the de­tails on Sarah’s ill­ness pri­vate, but dur­ing the last few days of her life she did re­ceive 10 units of blood.

Her hus­band Peter Rus­sell en­cour­aged blood donors to come for­ward, since giv­ing blood was Sarah’s dy­ing wish.

Re­cently, a spe­cial blood donor clinic took place in St. John’s at the per­ma­nent Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices clinic on Wick­low Street. Fam­ily and friends were on hand for that event, which at­tracted close to 150 donors. Two more clin­ics will take place in Novem­ber. The town of Car­bon­ear, which Sarah spent many of her younger years swimming and now teach­ing, and her home­town o f Bay Roberts will each host a blood donor clinic in her hon­our.

On Nov. 18, the Knights of Colum­bus in Car­bon­ear will host the bi­monthly mo­bile clinic, but wi l l do so in Sarah’s name.

The fol­low­ing day, Bay Roberts will host its clinic at the Grace United Church Hall in Co­ley’s Point. Both clin­ics will be run from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on their re­spec­tive days.

There will also be “In Hon­our” cards avail­able to fill out on site, which will be sent to the fam­ily in mem­ory of Sarah.

For those who are in­ter­ested in book­ing an ap­point­ment to do­nate in mem­ory of Sarah Turpin in Car­bon­ear or Bay Roberts, call 1888-2-DO­NATE.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Sarah Turpin lost a short bat­tle with an ill­ness, but her dy­ing wish was for peo­ple to do­nate blood.

Sarah Turpin

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