Steve Ward, here seen pulling 54-year-old Liza Glynn into a specially modified van, has been Glynn’s caregiver for five years following her diagnosis of MS when she 32 years old. (Photo Courtesy of Liza Glynn)

Steve Ward, here seen pulling 54-year-old Liza Glynn into a specially modified van, has been Glynn’s caregiver for five years following her diagnosis of MS when she 32 years old. (Photo Courtesy of Liza Glynn)

Central Saanich woman finds freedom through care-giver

Steve Ward recognized for his role as in caring for Liza Glynn who has MS

Liza Glynn experienced a moment of personal and physical freedom last week, when she and Steve Ward, one of her caregivers, lunched at Alpine Restaurant at the Villa Eyrie Resort.

The 54-year-old was 32 when doctors diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis in July 1998. MS is a neurological disease that disrupts the communication between brain and the rest of the body by eating away the protective sheath (myelin) covering nerve fibres. Twenty-three year later, the mother of a 17-year-old son finds herself paralyzed from the neck down, dependent on a wheel chair for mobility and confined to her Brentwood Bay home for the last 10 months until Friday’s lunch made possible by GAIN Group as part of a Christmas donation to nominated caregivers.

“I haven’t been in a restaurant for more than a year, and this just felt like being liberated,” she said of the experience. It was also a moment to savour her personal relationship with Ward and pay tribute to individuals who care for differently-abled people in the community, far from the spotlight.

“Some are seldom seen by the citizens in the larger community, who might not even know they’re there,” she said.

Ward started to help Glynn five years ago, first as a volunteer, then as one of two paid live-in caregivers, who stay with Glynn 24-7 for several days a week during their respective shifts. But Ward, who has a professional background in engineering and technology, sees his time with Glynn as something far more than a job. While his previous employments all met some sort of a personal need of his own, his various tasks as caregiver such as driving Glynn to medical appointments, shopping for groceries and handling her finances are indispensable.

RELATED: ‘It’s just hair:’ Central Saanich woman chops her locks for Wigs for Kids

“Of the jobs that I have had in my life, this is without question, by a very large margin the most useful job that I have ever done,” said Ward, adding that he has never been more motivated in his work despite the high emotional, mental and physical toll.

“I started as a volunteer and I am not doing this for the job. It’s a really important that it needs to be done. So whatever needs to be done, I’ll do it.”

This type of commitment from Ward has helped Glynn participate in the life of her son, watching him play baseball from the sidelines, and attend church, through which Glynn and Ward had initially connected.

“It makes my world a lot bigger,” she said.

Along this journey, they have developed a deep ability to read each other.

“We generally understand, what it is we are trying to do for each other to get through whatever the particular activity is,” said Ward. “I would say that the ability to know what the other person is thinking or doing without actually having to say anything is probably the most surprising thing for me. I am a lifelong bachelor and I never had anybody reading my mind before.”

In many ways, Glynn and Ward evoke the French movie The Intouchables, which tells the story of a quadriplegic and his care-giver who hails from a Parisian Banlieue. While the comparisons only go so far, Glynn sees the real-life parallels that both have come from different backgrounds. “I strongly believe that it was in God’s hands that we met and I don’t think of him as a caregiver,” said Glynn. “I think of him as an extended family.”

If Ward has helped Glynn navigate the world, she has helped Ward grow in unexpected ways. Ward said he probably would not have started to work in caregiving had he not met Glynn and had a “spiritiual awakening” that made him see the world in a less mechanical, more humanistic way.

“Whatever challenges Liza has faced, this has probably made more of a human out of me than I was before,” he said. “I am a lot more compassionate and patient and understanding.”

Glynn’s feeling of liberation amidst stunning scenery and opulent servings flows directly from it.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This picture shows Liza Glynn after Steve Ward had transferred her from her bed to her powered wheelchair, using an electric lift hanging from a rail on the ceiling. Ward has been one of Glynn’s two care-givers for five years. (Photo Courtesy of Liza Glynn)

This picture shows Liza Glynn after Steve Ward had transferred her from her bed to her powered wheelchair, using an electric lift hanging from a rail on the ceiling. Ward has been one of Glynn’s two care-givers for five years. (Photo Courtesy of Liza Glynn)

Just Posted

Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney theatre fills bottom line with popcorn sales

Theatre applying to return to doing our household-only private rentals

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read