SHELSWELL, Helen Mae

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The family and friends of Helen are sad to announce her peaceful passing on Wednesday, January 2 2019, at the F J Davey Home, after a courageous battle against cancer.

Helen grew up in Massey with her sisters Carol and Jane and brother Lloyd and attended public school there followed by high school in Espanola. After graduating from high school, Helen followed her sister Carol into nursing and graduated in 1966 from Plummer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.

Shortly after she married and had a son and they moved to Trinidad where for 3 years she improved the quality of nursing care.  After this success, Helen moved to Devon, England where she worked in Public Health including working for the Child Protection Unit – receiving a Staff Medal for her work.

Helen spent her entire life increasing her knowledge, her experience and her art skills. She learned Spanish, Creative Writing and even took up sculpture. Later in her career, Helen attended the prestigious London School of Economics where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Administration.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Helen ran both the London and Dublin Marathons and later hiked through the mountains of Tibet where she found an interest in Buddhism.

Helen retired from nursing in 2003 however, there was no keeping her still, in April through to October, she bought a bicycle and rode from Newfoundland to Victoria

Helen went to Cambodia in 2008 where she stayed for 3 years to set up Mother/Child nursing stations and taught the local children how to play baseball and set up a league. She also shared her knowledge of Canadian cooking.

One story that shows the dedication that Helen had to her profession starts with a little boy who had been bitten by a poisonous snake, without a blood transfusion he would have died. There are no blood banks in Cambodia so Helen told the Doctor to take her blood and save the boy however not to tell the parents. The Doctor did tell the parents about the kindness of the nurse and they thanked her by writing and singing her a song.

This lady had an amazing life and had so many stories to share.

The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at the SAH Cancer Unit, staff at Pathways Retirement Home and the staff at the FJ Davey Home for their care and kindness. We would also like to acknowledge her amazing army of class friends who have tirelessly helped Helen during her illness. Neva, Diane, Roz, Debbie and Shirley-Ann.

In Helens own words, “Tatty-bye”

Celebration of Life to be held in The River Room at North 82 from 2 – 4 pm on Saturday, January 12, 2019.  Family and friends are welcomed.  Interment Massey, Ontario

Memorial contributions in Helen’s memory can be made to the Plummer Hospital School of Nursing Care and Compassion Award.

Arrangements entrusted to Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington St. E., 705-759-2522).