Agnieszka Karst, BettyAnne Batt, Jane Huff, Sylvia Doane and Dr. Trevor Hurwitz collaborated on the book I’m the Bob and Cathy’s Kid. (Photo contributed)

Langley woman’s caregivers pen unflinching book about her struggles

The authors and the woman they care for will be at an Abbotsford book signing on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Suzie Bailey has a huge heart. She first came to the public’s attention in a 2009 Langley Advance article about her bottle and can collecting.

She would turn in recyclable drink containers and earmark the money to support families at Christmas through the Langley Christmas Bureau.

Yet at other times, the local woman with the developmental disability, is under the control of her injured brain, and would scream, throw things, spit and hit.

The team of people who care for her, with the support of her family, have released a book about Suzie. I’m the Bob and Cathy’s Kid is written by the team of Agnieszka Karst, BettyAnne Batt, Sylvia Doane and Jane Huff, with contributions by Dr. Trevor Hurwitz.

A person with a developmental disability can be a handful for those who love and care for her. The book offers an unvarnished look at Suzie’s struggles and theirs to encourage and teach others that perseverance and encouragement can make all the difference.

“She is kind, caring and loving. [Her negative behaviours] is because her brain has no brakes. Knowing this allows us to repeatedly forgive her offensive language, and tolerate being cuffed, bitten or spat at,” Dr. Hurwitz wrote.

Bailey was born Aug. 4, 1981 in Langley.

“I remember she was a robust and beautiful baby,” wrote her mother, Cathy.

At the age of 14 months, Bailey started having epileptic seizures. That started her parents on a seemingly endless round of doctors’ appointments and testing as medication after medication failed and the frequency of seizures increased. She was having more than 200 seizures per day.

She had her first brain surgery at two-and-one-half years of age.

After more brain surgeries, her parents made the difficult decision that she would have a hemispherectomy (removal of half her brain). Her parents had a heartbreaking decision. Do nothing and the seizures would basically ‘fry’ her brain or remove part of her brain, knowing it would forever change their daughter.

The hemispherectomy left her with brain injuries, physical disabilities and behavioural challenges. While the radical surgery helped with the number of seizures, they did not stop entirely and she exhibited aggressive behaviours because of her hurt brain.

It’s been a tough road for Suzie, her parents, her sisters, and her caregivers. For every triumph (such as Suzie living on her own with one-on-one support) there’s been many setbacks.

But the Walnut Grove resident has over the years done volunteer and paid work at various places around the community, competed in Special Olympics, travelled, and enjoyed an active social life.

The authors documented it all in I’m the Bob and Cathy’s Kid, with Suzie’s permission and parental involvement, to show others how a person such as Suzie Bailey can carve out a fulfilling life for herself with support, love and understanding.

Through anecdotes and laying out why certain issues and problems were handled in certain ways as well as the lessons learned, they hope others – be they family or caregivers of people with brain injuries – can be find solutions to what they encounter.

“There were no easy answers to guide us along the way,” the authors wrote.

The authors and Bailey have a book signing at the Coles bookstore in Seven Oaks Mall in Abbotsford from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16.

They will be at the Coles in Willowbrook Shopping Centre on March 16 from noon to 3 p.m..

“We expect Doctor Hurwitz to be attending this event, as well as the four of us,” said Karst.

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


Suzie Bailey was profiled in 2009 for her volunteer efforts that included collecting cans and bottles to raise money for the Langley Christmas Bureau. (Langley Advance files)

Just Posted

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse, off duty cop testifies in Langley murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Trinity Western University’s men’s hockey team will host the three-team Captains Cup, featuring the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the Spartans, starting November 12th (Courtesy TWU)
Captains Cup hockey series comes to Langley

Trinity Western University to host UBC and SFU at George Preston arena

LOSC members worked out at the Aldergrove outdoor pool on Saturday, Oct. 24 (LOSC/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Swim club ‘broken-hearted’ by Langley Township pool decision

Staff report said it will cost less to reopen WC Blair instead of Walnut Grove

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read