Gaby Barbier fell in love with Yellowknife – and the feeling was mutual.
Gaby’s daughter, Linsay, says the family has received hundreds of messages since the news of Gaby’s unexpected passing on September 29.
The 49-year-old had been diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer just a month earlier.
“Yellowknife was somewhere where my family really connected,” Linsay told Cabin Radio. “We loved the outdoors, the fishing, and the community – just everybody knowing each other and coming together when good and bad things happen.
“I’ve received hundreds of messages about the positive impact she had on people’s lives – always lending her listening ear, being there for people when they needed, smiling and joking around, and living life to its fullest.
“She was such a light in people’s lives, and it’s been so heartbreaking but so nice and comforting to read these messages. It’s something that is going to live on in everybody, and in us as a family. Everybody who crossed her path can attest to the special and amazing woman she was.”
A service is planned for St Patrick’s Catholic Church at noon on October 13, followed by a celebration of life at the hangar of 440 Squadron from 1pm till 4pm. The events are open to the public, the family said.
‘So many unknowns’
Gaby Barbier worked as a manager for Joint Task Force (North) after moving to Yellowknife in 2002, Linsay said. That was the family’s second spell in the city, she added, following an initial period from 1994 to 1999.
In early August, Gaby was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after feeling oddly ill and bloated. She was transferred to Edmonton and later Calgary for treatment.
She leaves behind her husband, Chris; daughter, Linsay; and son, Jan.
Gaby’s family is using her passing as an opportunity to raise funds for more awareness of, and research into, ovarian cancer.
Donate: Gaby Barbier Memorial – Ovarian Cancer Society of Canada
“People really wanted to help and we thought it would be perfect for us to make a contribution to the Ovarian Cancer Society, because there are so many unknowns, so much research and awareness has to happen,” said Linsay.
“That’s a great way to contribute back. My mom wasn’t given a chance to fight – hopefully by raising money to contribute to research and awareness, we can give somebody else a second chance, and a chance to fight.”