Until recently, it was hard to keep track of Velma Simon (aka G-ma). Although in her eighties, Vel was active and involved in the community. She played Bingo three times a week, Pokeno twice a month, and was often out with friends. She volunteered at the Santori Hospice, calling Bingo for the patients; one of them a very dear friend, who she visited weekly. Vel painted pictures for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also painted candles and made jewellery, which she sold at craft fairs. She enjoyed travel, frequently going to BC to visit friends and family. In her seventies, her adventurous spirit took her to India - a trip she recalls fondly.
Vel has always been a tremendous support for her family. She guided the family through numerous moves, dictated by her husband's work and studies. She always jokes that she should have received the same university degrees as her husband, as she helped with the research and typed every thesis! When her husband became ill, she was a tireless caregiver and dedicated her days and nights to ensuring he was comfortable and safe.
Vel's amazing work ethic, ability to adapt and innovate, and positive attitude have helped her cope amazingly well through a new journey - living with ALS. She continues to live quite independently, with the assistance of her family, home care workers, and the support of the ALS Society. The society has provided not only equipment, but emotional support, guidance, encouragement, and opportunities. A long-time Calgary Flames fan, Vel attended her first Calgary Flames game, courtesy of the ALS Society and Michael Backlund of the Flames. She intends to go again!
Vel is an inspiration, deeply loved and respected, and has set a fine example for the new generations of family for how to live life well.