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Best friends, and nurses, leave $100,000 legacy to help CNC nursing students

Becky Beck  and Betty Smith.

A legacy of kindness and compassion defining lifelong friends and nurses Betty Smith and Becky Beck lives on through a new award helping the next generation of nurses training at the College of New Caledonia (CNC).  

Betty and Becky lived next door to each other in Vancouver and dedicated their lives to the nursing profession becoming members of the Victorian Order of Nurses. Growing up across the street, CNC alumnus Roger Dunkley said the two women were like great aunts to him. Now, stewarding their legacy, he is surrounded by mounds of letters from charities across the world Betty and Becky supported. 

“They lived lives of moderation and gave what they had to better the community,” Roger said. “They embodied the sentiment that with consistency and hard work, even slow growth over time leads to exponential things.” 

The conversation to fund an award helping nursing students began more than a decade ago for Becky and Betty. At the time, Roger was completing his Criminology diploma at CNC. His father, Terry, suggested the two women consider CNC and its nursing programs that help fill the great need for nurses in the north. 

When Becky died in 2018 at age 97, she willed everything to her good friend next door. Betty never forgot the conversation she and Becky had with Terry. When she died in 2021, her will included a $100,000 donation to CNC for the creation of a new award.  

“Their light shone so bright that now, even after passing, they’re still having a warm positive impact on this world,” Roger said. 

The new award, which provides four $1,000 awards annually, honours not only Betty and Becky but also Becky’s mother, Edith, who was also a nurse. The award also serves to recognize the frontline medical workers who have worked and persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We’re grateful for Roger and the Dunkley family working to make sure the contributions of Betty and Becky support the next generation of nurses,” said Dr. Dennis Johnson, President and CEO of CNC. “Contributions such as this can make an important difference in supporting the education of skilled health care professionals to provide exceptional care in the north.”

CNC’s nursing programs provide education for students in health care assisting, practical nursing, and the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program in conjunction with UNBC.

Students can apply for the Three Sisters Endowment Bursary through CNC’s Financial Aid & Awards page when award applications open at the end of October.  

“This new award supports the ecosystem of Nursing in the North, providing support to students in all three nursing education streams offered at CNC,” said Dr. Tamara Chambers-Richards, Dean of Health Sciences. “This ensures motivated students have the means to succeed in the areas they’ve chosen: health care assisting, practical nursing, or registered nursing.” 

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