Allan and Helen: A True Love Story
Allan and Helen moved to Kitchener a year and a half ago from their hometown of Saskatoon to be closer to their son and two daughters. Though the decision to leave their home of 53 years was difficult, Helen needed extra support after her husband suffered two strokes and was recovering from a serious heart procedure.
Allan lost most of his speech as a result, and the couple finds new ways to communicate with each other. They do whatever they can to enjoy life to the fullest and maintain their independence.
“If Allan had to go to a care center, I don’t know how we’d manage,” said Helen. “It would be so hard. It’s important that we have agencies like Community Support Connections (CSC).
Their love story began 65 years ago on a warm afternoon when Allan asked Helen to go for a spin in his 1930 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe. Allan knew right away that she was “the one”, but it took some persistence on his part before the couple married in a small church in Saskatoon.
“I said ‘no’ the first time because I wanted to focus on my studies," said Helen. "But the second time I couldn’t resist. He was funny, active and he was on the football team.”
Allan spent a year in the Air Force before deciding to pursue his artistic passions by becoming a draftsman. Helen recalls much of his early work being done on linen using imported ink from India.
Allan began practicing Judo before earning his 5th degree Black Belt and serving as a National Judo referee, eventually earning a spot in both the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
Helen stayed home to raise their three children before pursuing a 21‑year career as a Child Care Centre Director at a local university. All of their children are well accomplished today, making contributions in music, journalism, and academics.
Allan’s love for creating continued well into retirement and was inspired by a friend to pick up sewing. He started to design and sew clothing for his wife, from fashionable shift dresses to shawls.
After 63 years of marriage, the couple are looking forward to gardening in the spring and continue to participate in CSC’s free gentle exercise classes, funded by the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network.
“The classes give us a chance to socialize with people in our community,” said Helen. “It helps us get up and get moving instead of staying in bed longer.”
Every day, volunteers and donors are helping thousands of clients, including hundreds of couples, stay together in their own homes. From instructing free gentle exercise classes, to giving a ride to a client to visit a lifelong partner in long term care, often just a few simple supports are needed to live at home independently.
If you would like more information about volunteer opportunities or ways you can support the clients of CSC, please call 519‑772‑8787 or visit www.communitysupportconnections.org.