Bittersweet reunion inspires bursary for single-parent students
When Brigeen Badour, BA 00, GrDip 11, retired in 2013 as a Concordia academic advisor, she funded a bursary in support of single-parent students to commemorate a special person: her cousin Pamela Badour, who passed away at the age of 54.
“I loved Pam dearly, and creating the bursary was my way of honouring her memory,” Brigeen says.
As girls they had been as close as sisters, but in adulthood Pamela, who had a difficult life, lost contact with the family for many years. Around Christmas 2009, her brother Jeff tracked her down, only to discover she was very ill. He called Brigeen, and a joyful yet sad reunion took place in April 2010, as Pamela lay dying of cancer in a Toronto hospital.
It was then that Pamela told Brigeen she had made the heartrending decision to put her children up for adoption years earlier because she couldn’t care for them. Pamela died a week later. That revelation led to a decades-long search by Jeff to find Pamela’s children.
Meanwhile, miles away, a Toronto family had been searching for years to learn more about the birth mother of the children they had adopted — a search that ended successfully when those children, now adults, met and were welcomed into the Badour family fold.For both families, it was the ending they had all hoped for.
The Pamela Badour Memorial Bursary has grown, thanks to contributions by the adoptive family to support annual awards of $3,000 to a single-parent student.
“These single parents are so incredible, so hard-working,” says Brigeen. “They pursue their studies while caring for their children, often with little family support and limited financial resources.
“Every year I receive a thank-you letter from the recipient of the bursary. And every year the letter moves me so much and makes me want to do more. Not only are we helping the students, we are helping their children and the community. It’s rewarding to see that Pamela’s legacy continues in the lives of others. It’s a win-win-win.”