Creekstone Press News
News and Photos from the Front Lines Prince George launch
April 2, 2011
Dr. Donald Rix Health Sciences Centre
University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)
Author Sarah de Leeuw, two-time winner of the CBC literary award for creative non-fiction, didn’t waste any time grabbing the crowd’s attention at the launch of her most recent book Front Lines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern British Columbia.
Reading from her introduction to the book, de Leeuw said, “When I was 12, I almost died.” She then went on to explain how a very dedicated group of health care professionals managed to get her—then a little girl with a ruptured appendix—aboard a medivac flight out of Sandspit, Haida Gwaii, at night, in the middle of a howling storm.
The story is similar to those told by some of the caregivers featured in the book which de Leeuw says is about “amazing, resilient, thoughtful people who are practicing and caring for other people in northern British Columbia.
Full colour portraits by photographer Tim Swanky compliment de Leeuw’s biographies which include doctors, nurses, social workers and paramedics from Haida Gwaii in the West to McBride near the Alberta border and from Vanderhoof at the centre of the province to Dease Lake just south of the Yukon border. The book is co-published by UNBC and Creekstone Press in Smithers.
The more than 100 guests who attended the launch got a chance to mingle with several of the 44 caregivers whose portraits and biographies appear in the book. The North’s only medical oncologist, Dr. Winston Bishop was there as were family physician and palliative care specialist Dr. Inban Reddy, social workers Barbie Everett and Louise Creyke from Prince George and Tumbler Ridge’s doctor cum amateur palaeontologist Charles Helm.
“[These are] a unique collection of individuals whose motivations and passions not only reflect the character and spirit of northern caregiving but entice others to accept its challenges,” said Dr. Dave Snadden, head of UNBC’s Northern Medical Program,”
De Leeuw, a geographer and assistant professor in the Northern Medical Program, said she hopes the book portrays the North as “a wonderful landscape in which to live, to love, to play and to practice.”