Bay Roberts woman gone but not forgotten
Local blood donor clinics held in memory of Sarah Turpin
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
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.
Sarah Turpin lost a short battle with an illness, but her dying wish was for people to donate blood.