‘A selfless hero’: Calgary health-care aide dies from COVID-19

Yurub Ibrahim died of COVID-19 in January. Her family said the health-care aide contracted the virus while at work. Contributed

According to her son, Yurub Ibrahim was “the kind of person who put others first and put herself last.”

The 51-year-old health-care aide lost her battle with COVID-19 at a Calgary hospital on Jan. 29, after spending nearly 12 years caring for others.

Her family is remembering her as “a very friendly and kind person.”

“She was a type of person that anytime she entered a room, she had a presence. Everybody liked her,” her son Mohamed Abdulahi told Global News on Tuesday.

The family believes Ibrahim contracted the novel coronavirus at work. She started showing symptoms of COVID-19 on Dec. 18 and tested positive for the illness the next day.

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She quickly deteriorated and was eventually admitted to hospital, where she was put on a ventilator and was in a medically-induced coma for six weeks before she died.

“It has been very stressful for me and the family who just had to take it day by day,” Abdulahi said.

“We always had to pray and wish for her to get better but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”

Up until she fell ill, Ibrahim had been working at the Glamorgan Care Centre in southwest Calgary, the owner of which called her a “selfless hero.”

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Understanding and managing stress for health-care workers

Joel Bond said in the seven years Ibrahim worked at the Glamorgan Care Centre, she was revered as a “positive, colourful and generous individual.”

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“Her sacrifice and commitment to the care of our residents at Glamorgan Care Centre will never be forgotten,” he said in a statement. “She will be dearly missed and remembered as a selfless hero.

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“While the pandemic has been an extremely challenging and difficult time for all of our staff, we are reminded on a daily basis of how many caring and dedicated people put themselves in harm’s way in an effort to protect the vulnerable population we care for.”

Abdulahi said during the pandemic, his mother “tried to make as many people as comfortable as possible during these hard times.”

Ibrahim’s nephew also described her as a “second mother,” who raised, fed and took care of him, as well as her community.

“She was a health-care worker — (a) front-line worker. It’s just a sad moment, and it’s going to be hard for us to grieve,” Jabril Alisharmarke said.

“She was one of a kind and the fact that she risked her life to help others is something that we must be motivated by.”

In addition to her selflessness on the job and with her family, Ibrahim was also an active member of the Somali Canadian Society of Calgary, which described her in a tweet as a “loving person.”

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“She was a very active member for the community and… she was there for us when we needed her,” society president Fitah Jeylani said.

GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Ibrahim’s family, hoping to help cover funeral expenses.

Global News has reached out to Alberta Health Services for a comment. This story will be updated when a response is received.

— With files from Global News’ Michael King

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