World News – CA – A British Columbia Global Icon: Deb Hope’s ‘Heartbreaking Journey’ with Alzheimer’s


She read the news at 12 p.m., 5 a.m. and eventually the 6 p.m. BCTV flagship aired, usually alongside Tony Parsons

When meteorologist Wayne Cox or sports presenter Squire Barnes made it funny, she would lose it, with a wonderfully loud laugh

And the laughter was real Deb was one of the most genuine people you have ever met

Warm and always interested in everyone and everything, she has perhaps been one of the best known people in the province

Deb retired six years ago when she was just 59 But even before, there were signs of Alzheimer’s that sent her into a terrible decline

Today she’s a shadow of herself, living in a retirement home and not even recognizing her husband, Roger, daughters Katherine and Roxanne, or stepdaughter Leah She also now one year old granddaughter, Veronica

While still reading the news, she had started to stumble over words or names

She would ask her producers the same questions about a story or topic she was going to interview She has always been a meticulous reporter, always wanted to do things right But now she was showing signs of confusion

Ian Haysom, then Global BC’s news director, had also noticed changes, and some of the control room staff said they were concerned Deb seemed to be losing the plot

“I was friends with Deb and Roger, as well as colleagues,” Haysom said “One day I called her and told her I was a little worried that she seemed to be doing errors on the air I wanted to know if there was a problem, anything I could do to help

« It was very early and I think we were in denial I didn’t want to insult her either. She was still young and Alzheimer’s disease never really occurred to me. asked if she needed glasses to see the teleprompter correctly

« Deb came over a few days later and said, » Hi boss Good call I need new specs Everything will be fine now ‘Deb was in denial too I mean, Deb was in her 50s and was 29 years old She had one of the sharpest minds in the world « 

To her BCTV / Global family, Deb was more than what you saw on screen Much more She was in many ways station life You’ve heard her often before you see her

« It was this hilarious scene with Lucy and Ethel working in a chocolate factory when they couldn’t follow the conveyor belt and start stuffing chocolates in their mouths, hats and shirts Well Deb started laughing while the story was going on and she couldn’t stop, ”Sajan said

« All of us in the control room caught the laughter – not watching the clip, but watching Deb lose it. At the end of the story she was in tears, crying so hard and her head was on the office, so we went straight to break! She loved to laugh « 

Former CIO Steve Wyatt said Deb was a tough and determined reporter and never failed to balance, fairness and truth in every story she told

« Deb was the best steward of everything the global newsroom was built upon. An unwavering commitment to good (and) well-edited images as the basis for hard-hitting storytelling, » Wyatt said

« And in all the years we’ve worked together, Deb has made sure it never becomes ‘the story’ at the expense of the content and every one of her colleagues who have worked so hard on her. sides « 

Wyatt said he will always remember when she followed up with a family who decided to get their cochlear implants for their baby girl, who was born deaf, which was new and controversial to the period

Deb and her cameraman captured the second baby heard her mother’s voice for the first time

Deb has also helped and mentored many young reporters, writers and producers at BCTV and Global studios.She knew how to tell a story and showed them how to get their point across effectively and convincingly.

She was also, in many ways, the conscience of the station, with a moral compass that frequently questioned the stories covered and how

“She never hesitated to walk up to me, or another manager, and ask what we were thinking,” Haysom said “If the stories didn’t answer Deb’s test, they usually weren’t worth it to be told « 

Although she is known for her decades as an anchor, she was a very successful and award-winning journalist for much of the 1980s.

Deb grew up in Trail, BC, and attended the University of British Columbia where she began to dive into journalism at the campus radio station

Her first plans to become a lawyer were scrapped because she thought journalism would be more fun

She started with The Canadian Press in Ottawa and one of her first assignments was to give Prince Charles a whiff, who was in town at Rideau Hall

Now it has to be said, Deb looked gorgeous and in the middle of the interview she realized the prince was hitting her

When she came out the front door to leave, he followed her outside and walked her down the aisle She said it wasn’t until her masters came to his help that she was able to escape his advances

She would later have dinner twice with her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, while working for BCTV One of those dinners was on the Royal Yacht Britannia Later she would win an award for her coverage of the visit of the queen

While working at The Canadian Press in Vancouver, she started hunting down then BCTV news director Cameron Bell for a job After a year of stalking, he said she had strong writing skills and decided to give it a chance The rest is history

Shortly after starting BCTV, she made one of the very first live reports for the 6 pm news – from Calgary Her colleagues were in awe

She was also the first Western journalist (after the revolution) invited to visit the Yangtze River Gorge in China before they were flooded for hydropower

When Wayne Gretzky was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles, Deb was sent to LUNE to interview the Grand after his first game She said he didn’t want to do the interview, but she finally got it

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Deb was in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final in New York with the Vancouver Canucks

She ended up watching with Emily Griffiths, Canucks owner When the team lost that one-game cliffhanger, Deb started to cry, and Emily turned to her and said, « Don’t you? don’t worry honey, there will be other years »

There were so many stories, from crime to politics, from bold break up stories to feature films She had the ability to cover anything and everything

An Outstanding Story that will be well remembered is a feature film she directed on « Mr. Whistle, as she called him

While working on a small organ in his basement, he created the sounds used on BC Ferries, CP Rail and CN Rail ships – even the whistle used on the Royal Hudson when it was running

Her first news anchor was on Noon News Soon after, she first appeared on the cover of TV Guide

Her husband Roger, a BCTV / Global News cameraman, walked into a drugstore shortly after starting to wet and saw her on the blanket next to the cash register

« I thought to myself: OK, one for me, one for her, one for her mother and one for my mother So four TV guides, » said Roger

« Now the girl at the checkout sees me throw in four magazines and says, ‘So, do you watch a lot of TV or what? « I was totally embarrassed so I said, ‘No, it’s my wife Then she said,’ Yeah, you want to! ‘ « 

Former Global News Editor Clive Jackson and his wife have traveled with Deb and Roger on safari to various parts of Africa on three separate occasions and have unfortunately witnessed its gradual decline

Africa was in many ways the happiest place she was, and her absolute enjoyment of watching and photographing animals brought happiness to everyone around her

Shortly after Deb retired, a Mining BC executive sent her the five stories from a mining series she had made 20 years earlier. He also sent a big thank you He said these stories helped save the mining industry in BC, and they wanted her to know

Deb has been the face of the Variety Club for BCTV for over 20 years and has worked for the Courage To Come Back group and the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation

Her decline has been rapid in recent years She had started tripping over names at work, then she couldn’t remember names or faces First of colleagues, then of friends, then of family

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She lived at the home for many years with Roger and her daughters who supported her, before entering a retirement home

« It was a heartbreaking journey, » said Roger « I mean she’s still Deb Still wonderful, loving, gorgeous But she’s not the real Deb and she’s no longer with us And that breaks everyone our hearts « 

And it’s time for her own story to be told She may have a hard time remembering a lot these days, but many in this province will never forget

Watch news time Thursday, October 8, for a story about Deb and her career at Global, told by Squire Barnes

Clive Jackson and Ian Haysom were editor and news director of BCTV and later Global News in British Columbia, respectively

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Deb Hope

World News – CA – A British Columbia Global Icon: Deb Hope’s « Heartbreaking Journey » with Alzheimer’s Disease



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