Illness fails to deplete woman’s patriotism

Judge Gerald Pash walks the halls of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital in search of Aletta Upton’s room

Judge Gerald Pash walks through the halls of Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s Polson Tower in search of Aletta Upton’s room. It’s her special day – one she has been anticipating for eight years.

As Pash approaches the door to Upton’s room, her son Ken steps out to greet him. Pash dons his ceremonial gown, and enters the room, filled with family, friends, Aletta laying on the hospital bed and Canadian flag souvenirs on the white walls. Aletta is ready to take the oath of citizenship. She’s ready to be a Canadian.

“Eleven days ago, my mother had a doctor’s appointment, and I picked her up at her apartment,” Ken said after the ceremony. “She didn’t come down, didn’t answer the call, I found her unconscious in her bed.”

Ken rushed his mother to the hospital, where it was discovered that Aletta had suffered a ruptured aneurysm.

“We were told the chances were quite poor that she would survive,” Ken said. “We actually went as far as arranging a funeral. I got my sister to come from Australia. The day before she arrived, it looked like she might not get here in time.”

But Aletta rallied and regained consciousness.

“The first question she asked was can we let them know in Penticton that she won’t make the (citizenship) ceremony,” said Ken. “I think it was important to her. It was weird that that was the first thing she asked – I was surprised.”

Aletta, originally from Cape Town, South Africa, has been living in Canada since 2009. In July, she will turn 89.

“It’s very exciting for us. We’ve been here for 25 years and her grandchildren are here, so she’s pleased to become a Canadian herself.”

As Pash finished the ceremony with the singing of O Canada, Aletta appeared tired. But since regaining consciousness, she has been improving every day.

“After a week of not eating anything, she was quite weak. But (she) has now regained her strength quite enormously and seems to have made some progress.

“Today, she became a Canadian citizen.”

Just Posted

Condition of the Coquihalla concerning for tourists

“They don’t make a show called Highway to Hell for nothing…”

ChangeUP finalists announced

The social enterprises will be sharing their stories Feb. 28

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Accident backs up Glenmore

Commuters in Lake Country, between Vernon and Kelowna, advised to avoid area

Police incident ends peacefully in Glenmore

After the area was evacuated, police were able to calm a distraught 50-year-old man

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Okanagan filmmaker to screen ice-climbing documentary

Penticton’s Dave Mai debuted his ice climbing film in Vancouver last week

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Letter: BC forest practices need to change

Letter writer says forestry is in need of an overhaul

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Thompson, Chilcotin Steelhead Trout in danger of extinction

‘Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back’ says longtime Steelhead advocate Steve Rice.

Most Read